ROANOKE, Va. – Put on those extra layers this weekend, especially if you want to avoid getting hypothermia.
Hypothermia is caused by being exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period of time.
Ottilia Lewis is the Trauma Outreach Coordinator for Carilion Clinic. She said it doesn’t just need to be freezing in order for people to experience hypothermia.
“You want to make sure that you’re looking for different signs of the cold affecting you…so shivering, feeling really tired, start feeling confused, maybe getting sleepy, slurred speech … that sort of thing,” Lewis said.
Age and medication are factors as well. Snow and rain can also play a big role in causing hypothermia for some people.
“They definitely are a factor. The reason why is because our bodies will get colder more quickly because of the water,” Lewis said.
According to the CDC, if you are unable to get medical help right away, these are some tips to warm either you or someone else up:
- Get the person into a warm room or shelter,
- Remove any wet clothing the person is wearing,
- Warm the center of the person’s body — chest, neck, head, and groin — using an electric blanket, if available. You can also use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets,
- Warm drinks can help increase body temperature, but do not give alcoholic drinks. Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person,
- After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrap their body, including their head and neck, in a warm blanket,
- Get the person proper medical attention as soon as possible.
For medical emergencies, dial 911.