January 15, 2024
Freezing temperatures predicated for this week
MOBILE, Ala. — Extreme cold weather has been forecast for Mobile County with temperatures in the area likely to drop below freezing several nights this week. These conditions could be a dangerous situation for susceptible persons such as those without shelter, are stranded, or live in a home that is poorly insulated or without heat.
Dr. Kevin Philip Michaels, Health Officer for Mobile County, recommends the following tips:
- Stay indoors if possible and use safe heating sources.
- Beware of the fire dangers from space heaters and candles. Keep them away from flammable materials such as clothing, drapes, furniture, magazines, and newspapers. Maintain at least a 3- to 5-foot perimeter around space heaters. Keep children and pets away from unattended space heaters.
- Dress appropriately before going outdoors.
- Drink plenty of non-alcoholic beverages.
- Do not leave pets outside for long periods.
The most common serious health problems resulting from prolonged exposure to cold temperatures are hypothermia and frostbite.
Hypothermia occurs when the body temperature drops to 95 degrees Fahrenheit and remains low. Prolonged exposure to the cold causes the body to use up stored energy. Those considered to be at highest risk include infants, the elderly, those with chronic illnesses or taking certain medications, and individuals working outdoors. Some warning signs of hypothermia in adults are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness. In children, they also include bright red, cold skin, and very low energy.
Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. It causes a loss of feeling and color in the affected area. Frostbite most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes, and can permanently damage the body. The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and people not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures. Some of the following signs may indicate frostbite: white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness.
Individuals exhibiting any symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite should be taken to an emergency room immediately.