In extreme cold temperatures, exposed skin can become frost bitten in just a matter of minutes. When the extreme cold hits, it is important you do what you can to stay warm. The state Department of Public Health offers the following tips for staying warm:
- Dress in layers. This helps keep you insulated and lets you take off or add more layers of clothing as needed. Wear many layers of loose-fitting clothing and stay dry.
- Cover your skin. When the wind chill brings the temperature well below zero, be sure to cover your skin. In extreme cold, skin exposed to the cold air can get frostbite in just a few minutes. If you have to go outside, cover your skink by wearing a hat, scarf, mittens, sleeves that are snug at the wrist, boots, etc.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Beverages with alcohol and caffeine actually make your body lose heat more quickly. Drink hot, sweetened beverages to help you stay warm.
- Perform your work during the warmest part of the day. People who work outside should do so during the warmest part of the day, if possible.
- Take frequent breaks from the cold. If you have to be outside, take frequent breaks in warm, dry shelters to let your body warm up.
- Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Know how to recognize cold illness and when to get medical treatment right away.
- Make sure infants stay warm. Infants under one year old should not sleep in cold bedrooms because they lose body heat more easily and are unable to shiver to keep themselves warm. Keep them properly clothed and indoors in warm temperatures.
- Check on elderly neighbors and family members. People over the age of 65 often are less active and have lower metabolisms, making them lose body heat more quickly. Make sure that the temperature in their home is adequate to keep them warm.
- Use portable generators safely. Exhaust from portable generators and outdoor grills contain carbon monoxide, which can kill you. Do not bring outdoor grilling devices inside the home for cooking or warmth Opening windows and doors, and operating fans is not sufficient to prevent the buildup of CO in a home.