Stay safe when temperatures drop
NOTICE: This is an archived press release. Some dates and information may no longer be current. To inquire if you are viewing updated information, please contact us.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Health tips for cold weather this weekend
KING COUNTY, WA - With forecasters predicting freezing temperatures this weekend, Public Health officials cautioned King County residents to prevent weather-related injuries and illnesses.
"A dramatic drop in temperature can lead to increase in hypothermia, frostbite and other serious health conditions," noted David Fleming, Director for Public Health Seattle & King County. "But there are easy things everyone can do to stay safe and warm."
Public Health Seattle & King County offers the following recommendations to help protect against the cold:
Dress warmly and eat right
- Make sure you are wearing enough warm clothing before going outdoors. Wind speed can create dangerously cold conditions even when the temperature is not that low.
- Wear several layers of loose fitting, light weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Most of your body heat is lost through your head, so wear a warm, woolen hat. Mittens will keep your hands warmer than gloves.
- Be sure to eat regularly. Food provides calories that maintain body heat.
- Avoid deadly carbon monoxide poisioning
- Never use a gas or charcoal grill, hibachi, or portable propane heater to cook indoors or heat your home. Downloadable picture warnings in 13 languages are available online.
Watch out for hypothermia
- Watch for signs of frostbite and hypothermia-slurred speech, confusion, uncontrollable shivering, stumbling, drowsiness and body temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or less. Get medical help immediately if you think someone has frostbite or hypothermia.
- Get out of wet clothes immediately and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids like hot cider or soup. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic beverages if you expect you or someone you are trying to help has hypothermia or frostbite.
- Be careful not to overexert yourself when shoveling snow or other physical activity. Take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water.
- Check on elderly friends, family, and neighbors to make sure they are safe.
- Watch your footing on surfaces that may be icy and slick, and wear shoes that provide traction.
More cold weather health tips (PDF).
Providing effective and innovative health and disease prevention services for over 1.8 million residents and visitors of King County, Public Health Seattle & King County works for safer and healthier communities for everyone, every day.