Millions of Americans are hunkering down for what is this season's third blast of sub-zero weather. And with serious cold come serious concerns about safety.
Experts warn that as arctic temperatures blanket the nation, the elderly, people with diabetes, and heart issues are particularly vulnerable. Caffeine, alcohol, and drugs can also up the risk for dangerous cold-related complications such as frostbite or hypothermia.
Luckily, protection can be found in just a big pile of clothing away. Indeed, some emergency medicine physicians agree that ear-covering hats and well-fitted winterized boots are among the weapons of choice when battling a Fahrenheit free-fall. An extra pair of socks and a thick set of mittens are also critical to good insulation. Remember to stay well hydrated, and opt for a triple layer approach favoring wool, silk and polypropylene clothing over cotton for keeping out cold, wind, and moisture.
Of course, as a precaution, know the signs of trouble: tingling, stinging, redness or pain in the extremities could mean frostbite while shivering, confusion, fatigue, and difficulty speaking could signal hypothermia. In either case, it's time to call 911.
I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the news doctors are reading – health news that matters to you.