Yes, I know it’s March and winter should soon be over, but the important word here is “should”. I fully expect we will still record some record bone-chilling, frigid temperatures. And if I’m wrong, hooray! This is good information to know and you can file it away for next January!!
Winter events can be an exciting way to bring church members together. Winter can also bring extended periods of extreme temperatures. Even short periods of exposure to this extreme cold can cause health problems. And while frostbite does require exposure to temperatures below freezing, hypothermia, a condition during which your body loses heat faster than it can produce it can set in if temperatures are even above 50 degrees F if it is wet and windy.
Tips to prevent cold related illness:
• Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing.
• Wear water-resistant boots.
• Wear mittens or gloves.
• Wear a scarf or mask that covers your face and mouth.
• Wear a hat.
• Wear a water-resistant coat.
Recognize the signs of frostbite:
• Redness or pain in any skin area
• White or grayish skin
• Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
How to treat frostbite:
• Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
• Get to a warm room or shelter and remove wet clothing.
• Remove jewelry that could impair circulation
• Place dry gauze between toes and fingers to keep them from sticking together.
• Elevate the affected area
Recognize the signs of hypothermia:
• Fumbling when trying to use your hands
• Memory loss
• Slurred Speech
• Low body temperature (below 95 degrees)
How you can treat hypothermia:
• First two treatments under frostbite
• Warm under several layers of dry blankets or clothing.
• Place areas affected by frostbite in warm water.
• If the person is conscious, provide them with warm non-alcoholic beverages.
Hopefully, I will be writing about treatments and signs of sunstroke and heat exhaustion soon! Keep warm and safe. I’ll see you in church!
Your Parish Nurse,
Mary Ann Martin, RN, FCN