Below freezing temperatures with life threatening wind chill expected, putting all New Yorkers at risk for hypothermia, frostbite and other serious health problems
January 7, 2014, Brooklyn, NY…In light of the extreme cold weather sweeping the nation, Lutheran Medical Center is urging the community to be aware of critical -- but simple -- safety tips that will help avoid cold weather injuries and unnecessary trips to the emergency room.
Dress/drink appropriately when going outdoors:
• Dress in layers. Wear gloves or mittens, and replace wet clothing immediately.
• Wear warm boots or shoes with good traction to avoid falls. Be cautious while walking on icy roads and sidewalks.
• Avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine, they will make you more susceptible to cold-weather emergencies. Drink hot cider, soup or broth, which warm you and give you nutrients and energy.
Recognize the symptoms of cold weather illnesses such as hypothermia and frostbite:
• Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition where the body temperature is abnormally low. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, slurred speech, sluggishness, drowsiness, unusual behavior, confusion, dizziness and shallow breathing.
• Frostbite is a serious injury to a body part frozen from exposure to the cold. It most often affects extremities like fingers and toes or exposed areas such as ears or parts of the face. Redness and pain may the first warning of frostbite. Other symptoms include numbness or skin that appears pale, firm or waxy.
• Vulnerable populations, such as seniors and infants, are most at risk during extreme weather events, so it's important to check on friends, family and neighbors if you think they need help getting to a warm place.
• If you suspect a person is suffering from frostbite or hypothermia, call 911 to get medical help. While waiting for assistance to arrive, help the person get warm by getting them to a warm place if possible, removing any damp clothing and covering them with warm blankets.
• Watch and listen to local news reports to stay on top of the latest weather information.
• For more information about cold weather safety and how you can prepare for emergencies call 311 or visit the New York City Office of Emergency Management.