Cold temps bring risk of frost bite, hypothermia

Michiana residents are urged to stay indoors as the temperatures drop to dangerous levels. Doctors are concerned about frost bite and hypothermia in anyone that is outdoors for more than a few minutes.

Doctors say Monday was a busy day at Elkhart General Hospital.

They are seeing people with the flu and expect to see frost bite and hypothermia cases by Monday night.

"These types of temperatures we haven't seen for 20 or 30 years in this area, so people are not prepared for this and they really need to watch out," said Dr. David VanRyn of Elkhart General.

Certain people are more vulnerable than others. He says certain medications can lower your ability to tell just how cold you are.

"Patients on lots of medications, patients with high blood pressure, patients with diabetes, patients on psychiatric medicines can be ones that are more susceptible," said VanRyn.

Dr. VanRyn is also concerned about anyone out shoveling.

"In these types of temperatures exposed skin can be frostbitten in a matter of moments," said VanRyn.

Hypothermia can set in.

"Hypothermia, probably one of the things to watch for is confusion. So if people become confused they need to get indoors and warm up. If that doesn't resolve their symptoms they need to come and be checked out," said VanRyn.

He urges everyone who needs to be outdoors for long periods of time to take frequent breaks to warm up and drink plenty of warm fluids.


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