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As cold moves in, frostbite and hypothermia are dangerous problems

Updated: Tuesday, January 7 2014, 08:22 AM CST
Reported by: Kyle Rogers

HARRISBURG -- As the temperatures continue to drop into a deep freeze in Central Pennsylvania, standing outside for even a short period of time can lead to big health problems.

Dr. Linda Taylor of Patient First in York County said being outside in these temperatures for a half-hour can lead to hypothermia. 

“I’ve actually seen some people wear shorts again today,” said Taylor. 

“If you have to go outside, make sure you come back in a short period of time,” she added, emphasizing that several layers of warm, loose clothes should be worn during these temperatures.

Staying outside for too long can lead to frostbite and hypothermia.

Symptoms of hypothermia can include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, slurred speech, and drowsiness. At that point, it is imperative to seek a warm shelter, remove wet clothing, and drink warm fluids with the exception of alcoholic beverages. 

“If you become dehydrated, your body has to do more work, and it puts a toll on your body and certain organs start to shut down after a while if you’re not hydrated,” said Taylor.

Frostbite is another danger of the deep freeze. Symptons include loss of feeling in fingers, toes, and earlobes, and a waxy feeling on uncovered skin. 

“The biggest thing you can do is cover up correctly, of course,” said Taylor.
 “Wearing a hat is the most important thing because that’s where you have most of your body heat.”

Officials from the National Weather Service also advice having an emergency preparedness kit in your car. While many schools and organizations do have Tuesday off, many others will have to battle the frigid temperatures during the morning commute. 

Among the items the NWS suggests one carries in a kit include:

* A battery-powered radio and extra batteries for NOAA weather radio coverage;
* A flashlight and extra batteries;
* Fire extinguishers;
* First aid kits;
* Bottled water and  non-perishable high-energy foods like peanut butter;
* Shovels, tire repair kits, and flares;
* Extra dry clothing;
* A tow rope, knife, pencil and paper, candles, matches, cell phone and a red bandana to tie to a car antenna when help is needed. 

Stay with CBS 21 News for continuing weather coverage.
As cold moves in, frostbite and hypothermia are dangerous problems

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