How to stay safe when the mercury says 20 below zero

Local News

It’s dangerously cold outside, and it’s about to get worse, with wind chills ranging from -20 to -40 degrees.

Medical experts in the region are warning about the potential dangers of exposure and urging everyone, especially outdoor enthusiasts, to exercise extreme caution and dress accordingly.

Daniel Weinstein, a physician at Urgent Care at the Fanney Allen Campus, recommends wearing a synthetic fabric or wool that will still keep you war if it gets wet.

“Wearing multiple layers, preferably something close to your skin,” he said. “That way it wicks away moisture, that will retain some insulation even if it were to get wet. Cotton is not a good choice.”

Weinstein added that, if you have to be out for any length of time, watch for signs of frostbite. 

“You can expect a little bit of redness in the area. As things progress you are going to get sort of a white waxy, or gray kind of appearance,” he said. “Additionally, the tissue may feel a little bit hard, and you may lose sensation.”

But you aren’t the only one facing the cold, so are your furry family members, who are just as susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia.  

Devon Krusko, the Animal Care Manager at Chittenden County Human Society, said some breeds handle the cold better than others, but it’s best to limit the time they spend outdoors.

“In general you should monitor your pets for signs that they are too cold. The could be lifting their paws, or shivering,” she said.

But perhaps the bigger concern is ice, Weinstein said, is ice. Injuries from slips and falls are more common than frostbite or hypothermia in the winter.

Finally,  Weinsteint said, clear any snow that has piled up against any ventilation systems to your home. That way carbon-monoxide, which is lethal, doesn’t back up. 

Click here, for a full list of information on how to keep you and your family safe this winter.

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