EHS Alert - Cold weather
Cold weather is here, everyone must take the necessary precautions to prevent and treat cold- related injuries. Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures may cause serious injuries such as hypothermia and frostbite. In extreme cases which can lead to death. It is important for all to understand cold-related injuries and how to prevent them. Cold-related injuries are almost always preventable if the appropriate precautions are taken.
Hypothermia is the lowering of the inner core temperature of the body. This can and usually does happen at temperatures above freezing.
The person feeling chilled. The skin may be numb with goose pimples. Minor impairment of muscular performance is evident in stiff and clumsy fingers, Slurred speech. Irregular or slow breathing and heart rate. Mental deterioration and shivering begin at the same time.
As the body temperature continues to drop, muscular and mental coordination continue to deteriorate.
If symptoms of mild/moderate hypothermia occur, get the person inside, have them change their clothing and then contact a hospital for treatment advice.
In severe hypothermia, if the person cannot walk, does not shiver and has an abnormal level of consciousness, the individual must be taken to a hospital ASAP.
If not treated immediately, it can cause death.
Frostbite is the freezing of tissue on areas such as the fingers, toes and ears and could involve only superficial tissue or could extend to the bone. Constriction of an extremity may reduce blood flow and increase the chances of frostbite.
Redness, pain, burning, stinging or prickly sensation. Pain disappears and a sudden blanching of the skin occurs. Skin is firm to the touch, but resilient underneath. When thawing, there is an aching pain or brownness.
To aid in prevention of cold injuries:
v Layer your clothing. Wear several layers of light; lose fitting clothing instead of one heavy layer.
v Keep yourself dry from the weather and perspiration. Change clothing if necessary. (Wool retains most of its insulation properties when wet)
v Wear a pair of cotton and a pair of wool socks to increase insulation and to take perspiration away from your feet.
v Wear gloves or mittens
v Wear warm head covering
v Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
v Use moisturizing lotions and lip balm.
v Stay active to produce more heat.
v Eat warm, high-calorie foods such as hot soups.
v Drink warm, sweet beverages (i.e. Hot chocolate or sports drinks); the sugar helps the body generate additional heat.
Avoid alcohol and Tobacco.
Alert Today – Alive Tomorrow