Cold Weather

Temperatures are getting colder. Take precautions to avoid injury and stay safe.

  • Limit time outside when temperatures are extremely cold. Layer clothing and cover yourself as much as possible if you must be outside.
  • If you need shelter from the cold during business hours, many public buildings and libraries offer it. More information on emergency daytime and overnight shelter options are available on the Office of Community and Economic Development's website.
  • Check on friends, neighbors, and relatives that may need assistance.
  • Maintain emergency supplies in your home and vehicles. Cell phones, phone chargers, winter boots and extra clothes can be critical in an emergency.
  • Do not leave pets outside or in vehicles. Limit their exposure to extreme temperatures too.
  • Watch for signs of the most common cold-related problems - hypothermia and frostbite. Seek immediate medical attention, if needed.

Prevention & Treatment

Serious health problems can result from prolonged exposure to the cold. The most common cold-related problems are hypothermia and frostbite. The following information is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Winter Weather page.

  1. Hypothermia
  2. Frostbite

Hypothermia

Cold temperatures can cause your body to lose heat faster than it can be produced, which can cause hypothermia.

Warning Signs in Adults

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Exhaustion
  • Fumbling Hands
  • Memory Loss
  • Shivering
  • Slurred Speech

Warning Signs in Infants

  • Bright red, cold skin
  • Very low energy

What to Do

If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the situation is an emergency-get medical attention immediately. If medical care is not available, begin warming the person, as follows:

  • Get the victim into a warm room or shelter.
  • If the victim has any wet clothing, remove it.
  • Warm the center of the body first-chest, neck, head, and groin-using an electric blanket, if available. Or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
  • Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature, but do not give alcoholic beverages. Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person.
  • After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible.

More Information

Visit Washtenaw County Emergency Management's Winter Storms page for local weather alerts and warnings. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Winter Weather Frequently Asked Questions.

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