Medical Professionals explain how to prepare for cold

By: Eric Eckstrom Email
By: Eric Eckstrom Email

The cold weather is clearly upon us...and with these low temperatures comes certain health risks to be aware of. I spoke with medical officials today on how to keep folks safe from the frigid temperatures..
This the season for sick patients, at least that seems to be the trend at area health clinics these past few days.

“We’ve seen quite a few [flu cases, strep throat cases, and bronchitis cases]. Those are the major four that we see this time of year and especially today,” said Donald McPherson, of Primary Care Centers.

But there are other serious health conditions the cold brings with it as well, in particular hypothermia - a condition when your body temperature drops below 95 degrees and frostbite, which can lead to a severe state of skin damage. Here are some red flags to watch out for:

“If the skin starts tingling, burning, or turning a whitish color. if you start chilling, as far as when you get warm you still chill and start running a fever, those are some of the signs that you need to come in and be checked,” Hollis Whitehead, ARH Regional Medical Center.

Medical professionals say the key is to maintain body heat and there are some guidelines to achieve this.

“People lose body heat through their head and around their neck and their armpits where you have large vessels. So if you layer your clothes, dress warmly…wear a scarf, wear gloves, you're going to take some major steps to prevent any kind of cold exposure,” Hollis Whitehead, of ARH Regional Medical Center in Hazard.

Professionals also say senior citizens and young children should observe a heightened level of caution.

“The elderly and really young should stay indoors during extreme temperatures as much as possible. if you're going to have to be outside, you have to limit your exposure outside - we are talking five or 10 minute increments, Whitehead said.

So remember to bundle up, stay safe and respect the realities of cold temperatures.

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