Illinois health officials warn about hypothermia, frostbite

Illinois health officials warn about hypothermia, frostbite


The  Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reminding residents about two health conditions caused by cold winter weather that can lead to serious injury and even death,  hypothermia and frostbite.

“With more arctic weather forecasted for Illinois, it is important to recognize the signs of hypothermia and frostbite, how to treat these conditions and what you can do to avoid them,” said Dr. Hasbrouck.  “Everyone should take precautions against hypothermia, but infants and the elderly are particularly at risk and should be monitored closely.”

Hypothermia is a drop in body temperature to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (F) or less and can be fatal if not detected promptly and treated properly

Signs of hypothermia include:

·         Forgetfulness

·         Drowsiness

·         Slurred speech

·         Change in appearance, such as a puffy face

·         Weak pulse

·         Slow heartbeat

·         Very slow, shallow breathing

·         Coma or death-like appearance, if the body temperature drops to or below 86 degre

If you must go outdoors during below freezing temperatures and the wind-chill is below zero, IDPH says to dress properly for the weather.

·         Wear several layers of lightweight clothing.  The air between the layers of clothing acts as insulation to keep you warmer.

·         Cover your head. You lose as much as 50 percent of your body heat through your head.

·         Wear mittens rather than fingered gloves. The contact of your fingers keeps your hands warmer.

·         Wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks or two pairs of lightweight socks.

·         Cover your ears and the lower part of your face.  The ears, nose, chin and forehead are most susceptible to frostbite.  Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect the lungs from directly inhaling extremely cold air.

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