Cold Weather Exposure
Many of us live in regions where winter brings the threat of exposure problems such as frostbite and hypothermia (the loss of vital body heat). Most cold weather risks are easily managed by using good judgment and the proper clothing.
Frostbite occurs when the skin and tissues below freeze after exposure to very cold temperatures.
Hands, feet, nose, and ears are the areas most commonly affected.
Frostbitten areas are cold, white, or grayish-yellow, and hard to the touch. The area may feel very cold and numb, or there may be pain, tingling, or stinging. As the area thaws, it becomes red and painful.
Consult the doctor, if the affected area is still numb after 45 minutes of trying to warm it.
Hypothermia happens when the body’s core temperature drops through exposure to cool and/or damp conditions.
The symptoms of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering; slurred speech; memory lapses; stumbling, or staggering; and slow breathing.
The person may feel tired or apathetic.
The condition may become worse when shivering become stiff, and skin turns bluish.
If you suspect that you are getting frostbite, get out of the cold immediately.
Warm the frostbitten area by putting it in barely warm, not hot, water (1000). Do not rub the frostbitten area.
To treat hypothermia, get out of the cold and remove any damp or wet clothing. Dress in warm dry clothes and wrap in blankets or get into a warm bath. Drink warm, nonalcoholic drinks such as coffee, tea, cocoa, or hot cider.
Signs and Symptoms that need immediate care
Stiff muscles and bluish skin.
Confusion, slurred speech.
Numb skin that does not improve after 45 minutes.
Headache, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, or uncontrollable shivering.
Pale, cold, clammy skin or cold, white, or grayish- yellow skin.
Rapid pulse and breathing.