This weekend's predicted deep freeze -- wind chills between 30 below and 45 below zero, 1-3 inches of new snow, and strong winds causing hazardous driving conditions -- has prompted the following safety warning from Wisconsin Emergency Management:
Frostbite of exposed skin can occur in only minutes. Below are some of the health and safety concerns everyone needs to be aware of as the thermometer continues to drop.
Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of –20° Fahrenheit could cause frostbite in just 15 minutes or less. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, eartips or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected seek medical care immediately!
Hypothermia is a condition that develops when the body temperature drops below 95°F. It is very deadly. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. Seek medical care immediately!
Overexertion is dangerous. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart.
Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make an existing medical condition worse.
Pets also need extra care when the temperatures fall. They should be brought inside during this bitter weather. Dogs and cats can get frost-bitten ears, nose and feet if left outside during bitter cold weather. Chemicals used to melt snow and ice can also irritate pets’ paws and be sure to keep anti-freeze, salt and other poisons away from pets as well.
For more information about winter weather, contact the Racine emergency management office or the state..