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Weather: Advice for Cold Temperatures

 

Dad and Son Bundled up Against the ColdThe Anne Arundel County Department of Health encourages residents to exercise caution during extremely cold temperatures. Whether inside or out, cold weather can be dangerous to those who are unprepared to deal with it.

Advanced hypothermia (decreased core body temperature) is usually accompanied by stiffness, excessive shivering, confusion, slurred speech, numbness or a weak pulse. Watch for the stumbles, mumbles, fumbles and grumbles which show changes in motor coordination and levels of consciousness. Symptoms of frostbite (skin damage due to cold temperatures) include gradual numbness, pale or purple skin, hard (wooden) skin, or tingling or burning in the affected area. Contact your local emergency services if you or someone you know may be suffering from hypothermia or frostbite.

Children, the elderly and people with poor circulatory systems are at particular risk for hypothermia or frostbite. The Department of Health offers the following tips to help residents cope with winter conditions when outside:

  • Layer your clothing; it gives more flexibility and control over how warm you stay. Avoid cotton clothing for winter activities.
  • Prepare for the unexpected. Most problems with hypothermia occur because of an unexpected change in the weather or temperature.
  • Wear a warm hat. As much as 50 of body heat is lost through the head.
  • Avoid getting wet when the temperature dips.
  • Wear waterproof boots or shoes to keep your feet dry.
  • Drink plenty of water. Avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol.

Residents should also be aware of the risks cold weather poses when inside the house. The Department offers the following tips to help residents remain safe in their homes during cold conditions:

  • Store several days worth of non-perishable food and bottled water.
  • Keep several days worth of medications.
  • Keep fireplaces and wood-burning stoves clean.
  • Never leave space heaters on and unattended.
  • Ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are operating properly.
  • Check on elderly or disabled neighbors and relatives.
  • For Shelter Information: Office of Emergency Management - 410-222-0600
  • Portable Generator Safety  
  • Seasonal Fire Prevention

For more information about dealing with winter weather conditions, see Preparing Your Home and Vehicle for Cold Temperatures, and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.