The National Weather Service says strong winds and plummeting temperatures will make for a bitterly cold combination early this week. High temperatures will remain in the single digits with dangerously low wind chills. Wisconsin Emergency Management’s ReadyWisconsin campaign is urging families to take appropriate measures against the arctic chill.
The best defense against extreme temperatures is to stay indoors, but if one must head outside, remember to bundle up with multiple layers of clothing. In severe temperatures, frostbite can occur on exposed skin in fewer than 30 minutes, so be sure to add additional layers of clothing when outdoors. Anyone with a loss of feeling or a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, ears or face should seek medical help right immediately. Hypothermia, a deadly condition, occurs when a person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Warning signs of hypothermia include uncontrollable shivering, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. Seek medical care immediately if any of these symptoms are experienced.
Cold weather also adds strain on the body. Activities like shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or worsen an existing condition. Be sure to have a winter survival kit in your vehicle as well. Kits should include water, snack foods such as energy bars, a flashlight with extra batteries and a cell phone charger.
It’s also important to limit your pet’s exposure to the cold temperatures and wipe your dog’s legs and stomach when coming inside from a walk. Pay attention to your dog’s paws as they may bleed from snow or encrusted ice. Be sure to clean their feet when they return to the house, as dogs can digest salt, antifreeze or other potentially dangerous chemicals while licking their paws.