SGCHD shares tips on cold weather-related illnesses; big drop in temps coming to the region this weekend

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 3:17 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Edited news release/KY3) - With a drastic cold front coming to the Ozarks this weekend, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is sharing signs of illness, symptoms, and treatments to cold weather-related illnesses.

According to the Health Department, prolonged exposure to cold weather, especially freezing temperatures, can lead to illnesses such as chilblains and frostbite. When cold weather is combined with precipitation, conditions like trench foot are also a risk. Signs, symptoms and treatments for these conditions can be found on the Health Department website.

Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures will eventually exhaust your body’s heat and energy at a rate faster than it can be produced, leading to hypothermia. Early symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Shivering.
  • Fatigue.
  • Loss of coordination.
  • Confusion and disorientation.

Possible signs that the hypothermia is progressing and becoming life-threatening include:

  • Shivering stops.
  • Blue skin.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Slowed pulse and breathing.
  • Loss of consciousness.

If you or anyone near you is showing any signs of hypothermia, call 911 and move into a warm room or shelter if one is available.

Older adults and those taking medications for diabetes, Parkinson’s, memory loss or thyroid issues may be more at risk due to a reduced ability to regulate your body temperature.

Anyone who spends a significant time outside is at risk for these conditions, especially those who are unsheltered and individuals doing outdoor physical labor when the weather is cold. Those who lacking safe and secure shelter can access Springfield’s Crisis Cold Weather Shelters coordinated by Community Partnership of the Ozarks.

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