With increasing numbers of Minnesotans participating in winter activities, cases of hypothermia dn other cold-related injuries is expected to be high. With this in mind the Fire Department and the Minnesota DNR has the following safety tips for the citizens of Norwood Young America:
- Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature falls below normal. Early mild symptoms include shivering, slurred speech, mental slowness or lethargy, and muscular stiffness and clumsiness. Symptoms of severe hypothermia include mental confusion, disorientation, stupor or coma, absence of shivering, stiff or rigid muscles, shallow and very slow breathing, weak pulse and a fall in blood pressure. If symptoms are detected, especially in the elderly, medical help should be sought immediately. Hypothermia can occur both in water and on land.
- Do not venture out if you do not have to. If you do need to go out, limit your exposure, and know your limitations. Dress in several layers, and wear a waterproof and or windproof outer layer.
- Should your clothes become wet, remove your self from the environment and remove the wet clothing immediately.
- Finger tips, earlobes and noses tend to be highly susceptible to frostnip and frostbite. Keep these areas covered while out in the cold weather. The body loses approximately 40% of its heat through the head. Wearing a hat will help conserve body heat.
- Frostnip is a common and reversible result of exposure to the cold. Persons suffering from Frostnip can easily rewarm cold fingers, toes or nose by gently rubbing these areas briskly.
- Frostbite however is a more serious condition caused by long exposure to the cold. This, if left untreated may result in the actual freezing of an extremity, digit or nose. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REWARM A FROSTBITTEN EXTREMITY BY RUBBING IT. Re-warming must be done gradually and in an Emergency Department. To prevent frostbite, protect skin from direct exposure to cold air and from exposure to intensely cold wind.
- The very young, the elderly and or infirmed also tend to be prone to cold related injuries. It is important to monitor children, and to regularly check on elderly relatives or neighbors.
- If you anticipate being out in the elements for an extended period of time do not smoke or consume alcohol. These items cause changes in the circulatory system making the body even colder.
- Make sure you have a working smoke detector in every bedroom and on every level. Check and change the batteries often.
- Do not attempt to heat your home with the oven. Burning gas in a closed house or apartment uses up oxygen and produces deadly carbon monoxide gases.
- Make sure that electric heaters and blankets are U.L. or F.M. rated, and kept away from any combustible materials such as draperies and linens. Unplug electric blankets and portable electric heaters when not in use.