The Big Chill Hits Buffalo!

January 17, 2011 Updated Jan 17, 2011 at 8:29 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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January 17, 2011 Updated Jan 17, 2011 at 8:29 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY ( WKBW ) Western New Yorkers woke up Monday morning to the coldest day of the season, so far. The good news is that most people didn’t have to go out because of the observance of the Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

If kids want to go sledding or elderly people want take a walk in the snow they must take precautions to make sure everyone is safe from the dangerously low temperatures.

First, anyone going outside should wear a hat and gloves. Parents should also cover up a child’s face. Ears and noses are the first part of the body to get frostbite if exposed. Children should not stay out in the cold for a long period of time.

If you have an outdoor pet they should be brought inside or put into a garage or shed. Their paws should be wiped down to prevent frostbite. If you are cold, your pet is probably also cold so take them inside.

The roads are in fairly good condition but there may be black ice that can catch drivers by surprise. In extremely cold temperatures, the road salt does not work as well so be careful driving.

Lastly, if your furnace is not enough and you are using a space heater, be sure to clear the surrounding area from blankets or furniture. Make sure children and pets stay clear of the heating device. Also, shut it down if you are heading out of the house or going to bed.

There is a warm up in sight. Temperatures will rise into the 20’s as the day rolls and Tuesday will reach the high 30’s.

( from the Centers For Disease Control www.cdc.gov) When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy.

The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won’t be able to do anything about it.

Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.

Victims of hypothermia are often (1) elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating; (2) babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; (3) people who remain outdoors for long periods—the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.; and (4) people who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.

Recognizing Hypothermia
Warnings signs of hypothermia:

Adults:
shivering, exhaustion
confusion, fumbling hands
memory loss, slurred speech
drowsiness
Infants:
bright red, cold skin
very low energy
What to Do
If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.

If medical care is not available, begin warming the person, as follows:

Get the victim into a warm room or shelter.
If the victim has on any wet clothing, remove it.
Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin—using an electric blanket, if available. Or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature, but do not give alcoholic beverages. Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person.

After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.
Get medical attention as soon as possible.

A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious and may not seem to have a pulse or to be breathing. In this case, handle the victim gently, and get emergency assistance immediately. Even if the victim appears dead, CPR should be provided. CPR should continue while the victim is being warmed, until the victim responds or medical aid becomes available. In some cases, hypothermia victims who appear to be dead can be successfully resuscitated.