TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – As the temperatures drastically drop overnight Wednesday into Thursday, it will be a freezing cold commute to work and school.
If you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time, whether it’s waiting for the school bus or shoveling snow, take the necessary precautions to avoid hypothermia.
The body’s normal temperature is 98.6 degrees. It will drop below 95 if a person develops hypothermia.
“The symptoms are going to be confusion, slurred speech, fatigue, you might feel as though they’re disoriented or shivering uncontrollably,” Dr. Cindy Condray, with the University of Kansas Health System, said.
The best thing to do is not just layer up the shirts and sweaters, or the pants, but to try to cover your mouth and face. Using a scarf or ski mask will help keep the heat from exiting your body, regulating your body temperature.
If the kids are playing outside in the snow, keeping them dry when they get inside is crucial.
“If you are getting wet in the layers, you need to make sure that you’re removing those in a timely matter,” Dr. Condray said. “They can cause you to have a decreased core temperature.”
Children and elderly people, and those with certain conditions like Type II Diabetes, are the most at-risk for hypothermia. Alcohol can actually increase the likelihood of getting hypothermia as well.
“The main thing I would have parents realize is for small children they very easily can have hypothermia,” said Dr. Condray. “They don’t have a lot of time or the extra coping mechanisms we have as adults.”
If a loved one might be experiencing hypothermia, take them into the heat, wrap them in warm blankets and give them warm fluids. If they don’t get better in 30 minutes, seek expert help.