Weekly Safety Meeting – Cold Weather Safety – Hypothermia

Beware of Hypothermia

When your body temperature sinks below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, you have hypothermia, a serious health hazard that occurs when body temperature is lowered too much. Get medical attention immediately. Move the victim inside to a heated location and begin warming the center of the body first. If the person is unconscious, administer CPR.

Hypothermia can occur in temperatures as warm as 60 degrees Fahrenheit, particularly in water if you are outside a long time and not dressed for the weather. Of the approximately 1,300 people the CDC lists as being killed by hypothermia each year, most are seniors, according to the National Institute of Aging, but some are children and young adults. Everyone needs to be careful. Some medicines, problems with circulation, and certain illnesses may reduce your ability to resist hypothermia. As you age, your body becomes less efficient at letting you know when you are too cold. In addition, older people tend to not to shiver effectively, one of the ways the body warms itself up.

Remember These Tips to Help Prevent Hypothermia:

  • Dress in layers.
  • Wrap up well when going outside in the cold.
  • Avoid breezes and drafts indoors.
  • Eat nutritious food and wear warm clothes to ward off winter chill.
  • Wear a warm hat in the winter.
  • Eat hot foods and drink warm drinks several times during the day. 

If you live alone, ask a family member or neighbor to check on you daily or have a camera installed so that a family member can view on their computer.

Ask your doctor if any medicine you are taking increases your risk of hypothermia. Drugs that may cause a problem include barbiturates, benzodiazepines, chlorpromazine, reserpine, and tricyclic antidepressants.

If your temperature is 95 degrees Fahrenheit or less, you feel cold and sluggish, or you are having trouble thinking clearly, see a doctor immediately or go to the emergency room. It is better to be overly cautious than to die of a disorder that does not have to be deadly.

If you are trying to help someone who may have hypothermia, first call an ambulance. Then lie close to the person and cover both of you and them with a thick blanket or with blankets. The hotter you get, the more warmth you can give the other person. Do not rub the person or handle them roughly.

Stay Safe During Power Outages

  • Wear layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing as well as hats, mittens, and blankets.
  • Close blinds or curtains to keep in some heat.
  • Close off rooms to avoid wasting heat.
  • Place towels or rags in cracks under doors.

Practice Portable Generator Safety:

  • Use generators outdoors;
  • Use at least 20 feet away from the doors, windows, garages, to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning; and
  • Follow instructions on proper use.

Once your family is safe, check on your neighbors and the vulnerable to make sure they are okay.

Download flyer: SMOTW_1047_ColdWeatherSafety

Download Spanish flyer: SMOTW_1047_ColdWeatherSafety_esp

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