Jul 28, 2014
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Rules for a Safe Winter Season

Dakota County Public Health suggests rules to follow for a safe winter.

Rules for a Safe Winter Season
Now that Minnesota is in the thick of winter, Dakota County Public Health is reminding citizens of some of the dangers cold temperatures and dangerous weather conditions present.

"Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can cause life-threatening health problems, including hypothermia and frostbite," a Thursday press release said. "Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected."

Dakota County Public Health listed the following rules to keep in mind for a safe winter season:

Avoid hypothermia
 

When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Low body temperature may make you unable to think clearly or move well, and you may not know you have hypothermia.

▪ If your temperature is below 95 degrees, the situation is an emergency — get medical attention immediately.
▪ Wear warm clothing that covers your skin and remove any wet clothing immediately.
▪ Limit your time outdoors.
▪ Watch for signs of hypothermia — shivering, lack of coordination, slurred speech, shallow breathing, drowsiness, a weak pulse and more — and frostbite among elderly adults, babies, people drinking alcohol and others at risk.

Stay away from frostbite 
Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes.

▪ The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.
▪ Warning signs of frostbite include numbness, a white or grayish-yellow tint to your skin, or a feeling of unusually firm or waxy skin. Seek medical care if you think you have frostbite.
▪ If you aren’t able to receive medical attention immediately, get into a warm room and immerse the affected area in warm — not hot — water.

Keep your car ready for the worst 
Prepare for winter emergencies by following the recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle and stocking emergency supplies. If you are stranded, follow these steps:

▪ Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna as a signal to rescuers.
▪ Make sure that snow is not blocking the exhaust pipe.
▪ Wrap your entire body, including your head, in extra clothing, blankets or newspapers.
▪ Stay awake — you’ll be less vulnerable to cold-related health problems.
▪ Run the motor and heater for about 10 minutes per hour, opening one window slightly to let in air.

For more information 
Minnesota Department of Health 
Minnesota Department of Public Safety 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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