Wicomico Co. Health Dpt. Offers Tips For Cold Temperatures - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Wicomico Co. Health Dpt. Offers Tips For Cold Temperatures

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SALISBURY, Md. - The Wicomico County Health Department says county residents should take the health risks associated with extremely cold temperatures very seriously.

Officials say prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures may cause serious health problems such as hypothermia and frostbite. According to the health department, hypothermia is when body temperature gets so low that it affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well.  Frostbite is reportedly when skin and tissue freeze in localized areas.  

Health department officials say children, the elderly, people with underlying medical conditions, and outdoor workers are especially at risk, and it is very important to check on family, friends, and neighbors during this time.

For anyone that must spend time outside, the Wicomico County Health Department recommends these safety tips:

  • Wear proper clothing for cold, wet and windy conditions, including layers that can be adjusted to changing conditions.
  • Take frequent, short breaks in warm, dry shelters to allow the body to warm up.
  • Schedule work for the warmest part of the day.
  • Avoid exhaustion or fatigue because energy is needed to keep muscles warm.
  • Work in pairs so that danger signs can be spotted.
  • Drink warm, sweet beverages (sugar water, sports-type drinks) and avoid drinks with caffeine (coffee, tea, sodas or hot chocolate) or alcohol, which dehydrate the body.
  • Eat warm, high-calorie foods such as hot pasta dishes.

Health department officials say signs of low body temperature to look for include:

  • Shivering;
  • Increased breathing, blood pressure and heart rate;
  • Pale white skin;
  • Amnesia;
  • Difficulty with muscle coordination;
  • Difficulty walking and talking;
  • Poor judgment, confusion and combativeness;
  • Fatigue.
  •  If any of these signs of hypothermia are observed, the person should stop their outdoor activity, move into a warm location, remove any wet clothing, dress in warm dry clothes, and re-warm the body.   
  • The signs of frostbite include pale frozen skin, with or without blisters, and frozen tissues that may be numb.  People with frostbite should seek medical attention.  The areas should be elevated but not rubbed.  Refreezing of thawed tissue must be avoided.

For more information about cold weather safety and information on local sheltering, visit the Wicomico County Health Department's website.

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