Winter safety steps are encouraged for people, pets

Hypothermia and frost bite could become issues for some Oklahomans this week.
FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: February 1, 2011
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In addition to the ice and snow forecast with today's winter storm, cold and dangerous temperatures are expected, weather officials said.

Lara O'Leary, spokeswoman for Emergency Medical Services Authority, said with that in mind, Oklahomans need to be aware that serious injuries and illness could occur if proper steps aren't taken.


EMSA medics advise extreme caution and urge residents to stay inside until it is safe to drive or walk on driveways and sidewalks.

During the previous ice storm, 64 people fell and had to call 911 because of ice, O'Leary said. People are encouraged to wear shoes with traction, dress in layers and wear a hat to absorb the impact of fall, she said. They also are urged to carry a cell phone.

Dress infants and children in several layers to keep them dry and warm. Don't forget warm boots, gloves or mittens, and a hat. The rule of thumb for older babies and young children is to dress them in one more layer of clothing than an adult would wear in the same conditions.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia develops when someone's temperature falls below normal because of exposure to colder temperatures. It often happens when adults and children are outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet. It can occur more quickly in children than in adults. As hypothermia sets in, the person may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy. Speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline in more severe cases.

If you suspect someone has hypothermia, call 911 immediately, O'Leary said. Move that person indoors, remove any wet clothing, and wrap him or her in blankets or warm clothes until help arrives.

Also, O'Leary reminds the public that frostbite happens when the skin and outer tissues become frozen. This condition tends to happen on extremities like the fingers, toes, ears and nose.

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