OSWEGO – The first Arctic blast of 2016 is expected this weekend with very cold temperatures predicted Friday night through Sunday.
The hazards of lake effect snow and biting cold are not only uncomfortable and inconvenient, but can also be life-threatening.
Being out in the cold for too long can make people vulnerable to hypothermia and frostbite, and the Oswego County Health Department reminds people to be aware of the symptoms of these conditions.
“Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition that causes a person’s core body temperature to drop. Elderly people and infants are at increased risk of hypothermia because they cannot easily regulate their body temperature,” said Jiancheng Huang, Director of Public Health for Oswego County.
Warning signs of hypothermia in adults include shivering, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, exhaustion and slurred speech.
Infants who are suffering from hypothermia may appear to have very low energy and bright red, cold skin.
Frostbite is another concern and often occurs with little warning.
Numbness can occur so quickly that the individual is unaware of being frostbitten.
Older persons and persons with diabetes are at greater risk due to poor circulation.
Diane Oldenburg, senior public health educator for the Oswego County Health Department, said it is important to dress in layers and wear windproof clothing to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.
Layers of loose-fitting clothing will help to trap body heat.
“Don’t ignore shivering. It is the first sign that your body is losing heat and should signal you to go indoors,” Oldenburg said. “Most of your body heat is lost from your head, so wear a hat that covers your ears, along with gloves or mittens. Also be aware of the wind chill. As the speed of the wind increases, it can carry body heat away faster. If you’ll be spending time outdoors, dress warmly, stay dry, and don’t ignore warning signs of overexposure or strain when shoveling or doing other outdoor chores.”
For more information on staying safe during cold winter weather, contact the Oswego County Health Department at 349-3547 or visit http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.asp.