2017 Winter Weather Preparedness Week Day 4: Frostbite and Hypothermia

The National Weather Service issues Wind Chill Warnings when the combined effects of wind and temperature feel like 25 below zero in Southern New England.

Frostbite is a condition in which the body tissue actually freezes. The most susceptible areas for frostbite include the fingers, toes, nose and ear lobes. Hypothermia develops when the body loses heat faster than it can produce it. Warning signs start with shivering and then proceed to include memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. At this point immediate attention is necessary, which includes warming the person properly.
 
Temperatures do not have to be below freezing for hypothermia to develop. It can develop in elderly people in a cool room with few, if any, warning signs.
 
In a hypothermic person, cold blood is concentrated in the extremities. If these extremities are warmed too quickly, the cold blood will be released into the central core of the body, possibly lowering the central core temperature to a fatal level. Use the following steps to raise the core temperature of a Hypothermic person.
 
Get the person into dry clothing if their clothes are wet. Put on additional clothing to warm the head and trunk such as a hat and vest. Wrap the person in a warm blanket and be sure their head and neck are covered. Do not cover their extremities. Give the person warm liquids to drink, but no alcohol, drugs or coffee. Seek immediate medical attention.
 
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Tomorrow’s topic is Freezing Drizzle, Freezing Rain, and Ice Safety.
-Nathan

Published by Nathan Coram

Hello! I'm Nathan Coram, a 19 year old meteorology student and weather geek, and am going into my junior year at UMass Lowell as a meteorology major. I am the current Vice President of the UML American Meteorological Society Local Student Chapter. Prior to at UML, I attended the Dracut school system for my K-12 years, having graduated from Dracut High in 2018. I first got into weather with the December 2008 ice storm, which knocked out my electricity for 4 days. I had no idea how it could be raining and becoming ice immediately, and how rain can knock out power. (Now I do - warm layer aloft, cold air at surface). But I didn't really get into it until the heat of July 2010 and specifically a few severe weather events during that month, followed by the year 2011, which featured several high profile weather events. Since then I have had a growing interest, and am hoping to make it into the meteorology field, preferably with NOAA/NWS. But for now, I'm blogging here, helping with the UML Weather Center social media, and tweeting about the weather on my own account as well. Thanks for visiting!

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