AUSTIN (KXAN) — With many homes still without power, you might be concerned this cold weather could be putting your health at risk. When it comes to extreme cold temperatures, there are two things you need to look out for: hypothermia and frostbite.
When your body is exposed to very cold temperatures, it loses heat quickly. This is called hypothermia. If your body temp gets too low, it can affect your brain functions and make it hard to get help.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, older adults, babies and the homeless are at the greatest risk for hypothermia. This is why it’s especially important you know the signs of hypothermia.
Symptoms in adults include: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, slurred speech and it will become harder to hold things. Babies will have bright red, cold skin and will have very low energy.
Frostbite is an injury created by parts of the body being frozen and can cause permanent damage if not addressed.
Symptoms begin with a cold prickly feeling, followed by numbness. This skin will then turn red, then bluish white or greyish yellow. The skin will then become hard and waxy.
If you suspect you might have hypothermia or frostbite, cover up and get somewhere warm. Take an anti-inflammatory, like ibuprofen, to reduce any swelling. Drink warm drinks like tea or coco and wrap yourself with blankets. Focus on getting your torso and head warm.
If you notice severe symptoms like slurred speech or blistering, seek medical attention immediately.