Being exposed to brutal temperatures like our region is seeing right now can lead to a variety of cold weather-related injuries. That's according to Doctor John Molesworth, at Frederick Memorial Hospital, who says fortunately, they haven't seen any as of yet. But he says if someone should come in suffering from a cold weather emergency, staff at FMH take certain steps to get them warmed up. "Warm blankets, IV fluids, if we need to do that, just very basic measures," he said.
The biggest threat with these freezing temperatures is frostbite and hypothermia. "With frostbite the most vulnerable areas of the body are the fingers and the feet. It's very important to wear gloves and waterproof boots, and keep the extremities very dry," said Dr. Molesworth.
Children are most at risk for both of these because they lose heat from their bodies faster.
Here's what you can do to prevent frostbite:
Avoid going outside right after taking a bath or shower.
Wear warm clothing and layer up.
The first layer should be tight, which keeps moisture away.
Layer two should be baggier.
The third layer should be tightly woven moisture resistant outerwear.
Lastly, try and keep your clothing as dry as possible.
To prevent hypothermia remember the word C.O.L.D. which stands for cover, overexertion, layers and dry.
Cover up and wear gloves and most importantly a hat or scarf that covers your neck and head. Your neck and head lose the heat the fastest.
Avoid activities that will be make you sweat causing your clothing to get damp.
Just like frostbite, wear layers to keep you dry and warm.
If your clothes do get wet you need to change out of them as quick as possible.
Hypothermia can even occur indoors, if you have a home that's hard to heat. Research shows that half of cold-related injuries happen to people over 60 years old. So people should show special concern for older neighbors, friends and family members. They should look in on the elderly individual, make sure utilities are working and medical prescriptions are filled, and offer to pick up food or home supplies.