Seniors offered precautions for cold weatherWritten by Gail Burkhardt | | email@example.com
The Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio is advising seniors and people with disabilities to be careful in the cold weather as the temperatures can create serious risks such as frostbite and hypothermia for them.
Frostbite occurs when the skin is exposed to severe temperatures, according to the news release. It mostly affects areas where there is poor circulation; it can damage the skin and in extreme cases may lead to amputation.
There are signs of frostbite that can be remembered as the four “P’s.” The frostbitten area will become Pink or reddish in color and Painful. White, waxy-feeling Patches will appear because the skin is dying and the skin then will feel Prickly or numb. If the patches appear, the Area Office on Aging recommends calling 911 immediately.
If any frostbite symptoms occur “do not rub or massage affected areas or walk on frostbitten feet. It may cause more damage,” according to the news release. Instead someone experiencing symptoms should slowly warm up the area using his or her own body heat like in the underarms.
Hypothermia can occur in a poorly heated house, outside in extremely cold weather if a person does not have the proper clothing or if someone gets wet in cold weather. Risk for hypothermia is higher for people who are malnourished, have liver problems, heart disease and endocrine disorders.
Mild hypothermia symptoms include: “sluggishness, mild confusion, shivering and fumbling hands,” according to the news release.
Severe symptoms include: “very cold skin, pupils that don’t change size in light or dark, no pulse felt and no breathing,” according to the news release.
The Area Office on Aging recommends calling 911 immediately at the first signs of hypothermia as it is very serious and can affect all of the organs of the body.
The Area Office on Aging provides several prevention tips. They recommend staying inside when wind chills are below zero; wearing many layers when going outside including a hat, large mittens over gloves and a scarf; wearing two pairs of socks especially wool to keep feet dry and warm; drying off after getting wet; and drinking warming beverages but not alcohol because it narrows the blood vessels which “promotes frostbite and then hypothermia” according to the news release.