The Dangers of Cold Weather Exposure
Cold weather can prevent many dangers. We've put forward these tips to keep the public aware of some of the dangers. Remember that this guide is far from exhaustive, and if you need some clothing to stay warm and dry, please check out our cold weather clothing section.
Hypothermia is a very dangerous condition that results from a drop in core body temperature. This is caused by wetness, cold temperatures, and/or improper dressing. When exposed to the cold for any extended period of time, it's very important to keep your core body temperature high. Make sure you are wearing temperature-appropriate attire, are dry, and are adequately nourished.
Hypothermia is a serious condition, and mild in this sense may be a misnomer. Mild hypothermia sets in between 95 and 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit and can lead to shivering and loss of complex motor control. It's important to notice the symptoms at this stage before the hypothermia progresses.
Moderate Hypothermia is the condition of having a core body temperature of between 90 and 94 degrees Fahrenheit. At this stage, the shivering may become more severe, your speech may begin to slur, and you may feel confused and foggy mentally. Muscle coordination will continue to suffer, and moderate hypothermia may even have an effect on the mental stability of the afflicted person.
Severe hypothermia is an extraordinarily dangerous condition that may even lead to death. This condition sets in at between 75 and 89 degrees Fahrenheit. At this stage, muscles become rigid and less responsive to the point where even walking may not be possible, the skin begins to pale, and the victim's pupils dilate. After this, the person may lose consciousness, and if the body temperature dips low enough, this will lead to cardiac and respiratory failure, resulting in death. It's important to have a professional treat hypothermia immediately to prevent this from happening.
Frostbite may result in numbness and loss of color in afflicted regions. These regions are typically along the human extremities, and include the chin, fingers, toes, ears, cheeks, and nose. Frostbite in extreme cases can cause permanent damage to skin tissue, and in rare cases can lead to amputation. If you notice reduce blood flow to your hands or feet, or feel a tingly or stinging sensation, or notice pale, discolored, or waxy skin, you need to take action immediately. Get into a warm room as soon as possible, and immerse the frostbite-striken region in warm water.
While mythical reports of 'cabin fever' may be exaggerated, the psychological impact of being cooped up indoors in bleak weather can't be condoned. Look for the warning signs of depression, and try to introduce some variety to your daily routine. If you need help, contact a professional.