When winter temperatures drop significantly below normal such as during a cold spell or during a long-term power outage, staying warm and safe can become a challenge. The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) strongly encourages residents to follow these guidelines below to prevent injury, illness or death.
Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature drops below what is necessary to achieve normal metabolism and other bodily functions. In severe cases or when the body is not warmed properly, death can result. People exposed to cold weather and those who aren’t sufficiently prepared also are at an increased risk for the condition. To prevent hypothermia:
· Wear appropriate clothing. Layer clothes made of synthetic and wool fabrics, which are best for keeping warm. Always remember to wear hats, coats, scarves and gloves.
· Avoid consuming alcohol if outdoors. Alcohol can speed the loss of heat from the body. Avoid overexertion from activities that cause excessive sweat, which can lead to damp clothing, causing chills.
· Stay as dry as possible.
· Outdoor workers should make sure they are dressed appropriately and take frequent breaks to warm up and make sure their clothes are sufficient to keep them warm and dry.
· Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, altered speech pattern, abnormally slow rate of breathing, cold pale skin and lethargy. Seek medical attention if you experiences signs of hypothermia.
Individuals experiencing these symptoms should call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.