Know the risks of hypothermia this winter
With the winter season rapidly approaching, Jefferson County Homeland Security and Emergency Management (JCHSEM) is encouraging all senior citizens of Jefferson County to learn how to stay safe in colder weather.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) at the National Institutes of Health defines Hypothermia as a potentially dangerous drop in body temperature, usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. Normal body temperature averages 98.6 degrees. With Hypothermia, core temperature drops below 95 degrees and can cause many health problems, such as heart attack, kidney problems, liver damage or worse.
Americans aged 65 or older are more at risk of Hypothermia because their body’s response to cold can be diminished by underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, some medicines including over-the-counter cold remedies and aging itself. As a result, Hypothermia can develop in older adults after even relatively mild exposure to cold weather or a small drop in temperature.
In order to prevent the onset of Hypothermia, The National Institute on Aging recommends the following tips:
Set your heat at 68 degrees or higher.
Dress warmly on cold days even if you are staying in the house.
Wear loose layers when you go outside on chilly days.
Wear a hat, scarf, and gloves.
Don’t stay out in the cold and wind for a long time.
Talk to your doctor about health problems that may make it harder for you to keep warm.
Find safe ways to stay active even when it’s cold outside.
Ask a neighbor or friend to check on you if you live alone.
If you think someone has hypothermia, call 9-1-1 right away. Cover him or her with a blanket. Don’t rub his or her legs or arms.
For more tips on keeping warm inside, information on Hypothermia, symptoms of Hypothermia, and how to talk with the doctor about staying safe in cold weather, check out the Stay Safe in Cold Weather Booklet: www.jeffersoncountywv.org/ home/ showdocument?id=11924