With temperatures hitting the single digits, overnight lows in the negative degree range and wind chill advisories into next week, Wisconsin Emergency Management’s ReadyWisconsin is urging families to take appropriate measures against the bitter cold.
Your best defense against the extreme temperatures is to stay indoors, but if you must head outside, remember to bundle up with multiple layers of clothing. In addition to wearing a tightly woven winter coat, a scarf, hat and gloves will go a long way toward keeping you safe against the elements.
In temperatures this severe, frostbite can occur on exposed skin in fewer than 30 minutes, so adding those extra layers of protection is your best defense against the wind and cold. If you notice a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in your fingers, toes, ears or the tip of your nose, you may need to seek medical help right away.
Hypothermia occurs when a person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. Seek medical care immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.
Cold weather also puts an added strain on your body. Activities like shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or worsen an existing condition.
Lastly, remember that pets need special attention during this cold spell. Limit your dog’s exposure to the cold temperatures, and wipe off your dog’s legs and stomach when coming inside from a walk. Pay attention to your dog’s paws as they may bleed from snow or encrusted ice. Be sure to clean their feet when they return to the house, as dogs can digest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking their paws.