Winter brings hidden dangers to your health. Here's how to prevent cold-weather health hazards.
This week a Wisconsin man died from cardiac arrest brought on by hypothermia. He was walking across a snow-covered field — dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt — after his van got stuck in the snow close to his home.
What happens: Your body loses heat faster than it can produce it. While it usually occurs at temperatures well below freezing, hypothermia can occur above 40 degrees in people who are chilled from rain, sweat or submersion in cold water.
Warning signs: Shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, slurred speech, drowsiness, memory loss.
What to do: Take the person's temperature; if it's below 95 degrees, call an ambulance. Get the patient to a warm room, remove wet clothing, and use electric or other blankets — warming the chest, neck, head or groin areas first. Provide warm nonalcoholic beverages — no caffeine — to increase body temperature, and keep the person wrapped in warm blankets or clothing, including the head and neck.