Extreme Cold Safety

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Watch for all of northern Ohio from Tuesday evening through Thursday afternoon. Dangerously cold temperatures are possible, with wind chills in the -25°F to -35°F range. These freezing temperatures can cause cold-related health issues such as frostbite, in a matter of minutes. Huron County Public Health (HCPH) is encouraging residents to be prepared and follow these safety tips.



Extreme Cold Safety Tips:

  • Minimize outdoor activities and stay indoors as much as possible.

  • Dress in layers of light, warm clothing.

  • Outer clothing should be tightly woven, water repellent, and hooded.

  • Wear a hat, mittens, scarf, and water repellent boots.

  • Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

  • Stay dry and change wet clothing frequently to prevent loss of body heat.

  • Check on family, friends, and neighbors who may be at risk or may need additional assistance.

  • Bring your pets indoors to ensure they have warmth and unfrozen water.

  • If you must use a kerosene heater to heat your home, maintain ventilation to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Refuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.

  • Know the signs of cold–related health issues such as frostbite and hypothermia and seek medical attention if conditions occur.


Frostbite

Signs of frostbite:

  • Numbness in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, and the tip of the nose

  • White, pale, or grayish-yellow skin area

  • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy

What to Do:

Determine if the person shows signs of hypothermia. Hypothermia is very serious and requires emergency medical help. If there is frostbite and no sign of hypothermia and immediate medical attention is not available:

  • Get into a warm room.

  • Unless necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes.

  • Dip the affected area in warm – not hot – water. Or warm the affected area using body heat.

  • Do not rub the frostbitten area or massage it.

  • Do not use a heating pad, stove, fireplace, or radiator to warm the area. The area will be numb and easily burned.

Hypothermia

Signs of Hypothermia:

  • Uncontrollable shivering

  • Memory loss and disorientation

  • Incoherence

  • Slurred speech

  • Drowsiness

  • Exhaustion


What to Do:

Take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°F, the situation is an emergency, get medical attention immediately. If medical attention is not available begin warming the person.

  • Get the person into a warm room.

  • Remove any wet clothing.

  • Warm the center of the body first. Use an electric blanket if possible. You can also use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.

  • Warm drinks can help increase body temperature, but do not give alcoholic drinks. Do not give drinks to an unconscious person.

  • After body temperature has increased, keep person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.

  • Seek medical attention.

Follow Huron County Public Health on Facebook and Twitter @HuronCoHealth for more winter related tips. Residents may also follow the Huron County EMA on Facebook @HuronCountyEMA and local radio stations and news outlets for local updates.