Health department issues cold weather reminder

The extremely cold temperatures expected this week prompted the St. Joseph County Health Department to send out a public health advisory.

They issued some tips to stay safe in the extremely cold weather expected over the next few days.
  • Prepare your home and car for winter and make sure you have a way to heat your home safely during power failure. 
  • Keep a multi-purpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby when using alternative heating sources. 
  • Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors as the fumes are deadly. 
  • Never leave candles unattended.
  • Keep extra blankets, flashlights with extra batteries, matches, first aid kit, manual can opener, snow shovel and rock salt, and special need items on hand.
  • Stock a few days' supply of water, required medications, and food that does not need to be refrigerated or cooked.
  • Monitor the temperature of your home.  Infants and persons over 65 are especially susceptible to cold.  If it's not possible to keep your home warm, stay with friends or family or in a shelter.
  • Dress warmly and stay dry.  When going outdoors, dress in several layers to maintain body heat including a hat, scarf or knit mask to cover your face & mouth, mittens, sleeves that are snug at the wrist, and water resistant coat & boots. Covering up with blankets can also conserve heat.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure outdoors.  If you have pets, bring them inside or provide adequate shelter to keep them warm.
  • Eat and drink wisely.  Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages as they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. 
  • Avoid exertion.  Cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart.  Consult your doctor before shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold if you have heart disease or high blood pressure.
The symptoms of hypothermia include:
  • Shivering
  • Exhaustion
  • Confusion
  • Fumbling Hands
  • Memory Loss
  • Slurred Speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Bright Red, Cold Skin (in infants)
  • Very Low Energy (in infants)
Frostbite symptoms
  • Redness or pain in any skin area
  • A white or grayish yellow skin area
  • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
  • Numbness

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