Staying Safe and Warm as the U.S. Sees Record-Breaking Temperatures

Staying Safe and Warm as the U.S. Sees Record-Breaking Temperatures

For essential workers that must work through the cold conditions, there are many things to keep in mind to stay safe and healthy through the winter storm.

Millions of Americans are reeling from a deadly storm that has created record-breaking low temperatures across the United States. On Tuesday, February 16, alone, at least 20 cities suffered their coldest weather in history with many more new records expected this week.

More than 73 percent of the mainland U.S. was covered by snow Tuesday morning, according the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration’s Office of Water Prediction. That’s the largest area covered by snow since such records started in 2003.

What’s worst is that as the storms surge on, millions of Americans are left without power creating even more problems for those attempting to work through the weather.

At least 15 people have died in weather-related vehicle crashes since the cold temperatures set in. In Oklahoma alone, 123 people were hospitalized with weather-related injuries.

For essential workers that must work through the cold conditions, there are many things to keep in mind to stay safe and healthy through the winter storm.

When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy and the result can be hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. Hypothermia can impact the brain, making it difficult for a person to think clearly or move well.

To avoid hypothermia, dress warmly if you are going to be exposed to low temperatures. Eat plenty of carbs, drink plenty of fluids and get out of the cold weather at the first signs of hypothermia symptoms (shivering and the “Umbles:” stumbles, bumbles, grumbles, and mumbles. These are signs that cold is affecting your body and brain.)

Frost bite can also be a large issue to those who must be exposed to cold temperatures. The early stage of frost bite is called frostnip and signs can include red and cold skin (skin may turn white but is still soft), prickling and numbness, tingling and stinging.

If frostnip begins to form, warm up the area. Remove tight jewelry or clothing and place cold fingers in your armpits or warm a cold nose or cheek with the palm of your hand. Do not rub the area, however.

Being weather-aware can help to prevent these cold weather injuries. If possible, stay out of the cold and off of the roads.

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