A Des Plaines man’s death was caused by exposure to cold and hypothermia, a spokesperson from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said on Tuesday. The deceased body of Lawrence Sviontek, 70, was discovered in his trailer park residence on the 1300 block of Rand Road at approximately 1:15 p.m. on Jan. 20, according to the medical examiner’s office report.
The manner of death was accidental, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s report, and another significant contributing condition was chronic alcoholism.
Victims of hypothermia are often elderly people without enough food, clothing or heat, babies sleeping in cold bedrooms, anyone who stays outside for long periods of time including hikers, hunters, those without homes and people who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In cold temperatures the body begins losing heat faster than it can be produced, according to the CDC, and prolonged exposure eventually depletes the body’s stored energy, resulting in hypothermia.
In addition to slowing the body, hypothermia affects the brain, according to the CDC. Since a victim may not be thinking clearly, the condition is dangerous because the person may not realize they have hypothermia and won’t be able to do anything about it, the CDC stated.
Hypothermia Warning Signs, According to The CDC:
- Shivering, exhaustion
- Confusion, fumbling hands
- Memory loss, slurred speech
- Bright red, cold skin
- Very low energy
For more information on recognizing and preventing hypothermia, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.
The National Weather Service issued two warnings regarding the recent cold temperatures on Monday.