Very cold temperatures, like very hot ones, can be hazardous to your
health. Proper dress and some sensible practices can prevent a lot of
the problems associated with cold weather. In addition, knowing the
symptoms of danger and how to treat them can keep problems that do occur
from becoming disasters.GENERAL HAZARDS
most common hazard in the cold is frostbite. Your body doesn’t get
enough heat and the body tissues freeze. Body parts most often affected
by frostbite are the nose, ears, cheeks, fingers and toes.
- In very bad cases, frostbite can cause permanent tissue damage and
loss of movement in the affected body parts. In the worst cases, you
could become unconscious and stop breathing. You could even die of heart
- The other cold hazard is hypothermia. Hypothermia occurs when you’re
exposed to cold so long that your body temperature gets dangerously
low. Just like frostbite, the worst case results are unconsciousness and
- With both cold hazards, you’re more at risk if you’re older,
overweight, or have allergies or poor circulation. Other factors that
raise the risk are smoking, drinking and taking medications such as
- It is very important to know the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia so that you can do something before it is too late.
- Frostbite can occur from being in a cold area or from touching an
object whose temperature is below freezing. In many cases, people are
unaware that anything is happening. That’s why you have to be familiar
with the symptoms.
- Frostbite victims usually start by feeling uncomfortably cold, then
numb. Sometimes they also get a tingling or aching feeling or a brief
pain. The recommended practice is whenever you feel numbness, take
- Hypothermia also can take you by surprise because you can get it
even when the temperature is above freezing. Windy conditions, physical
exhaustion, and wet clothing can all make you prone to hypothermia.
- With hypothermia, you first feel cold then pain in the extremities.
You’ll shiver, which is how the body tries to raise the temperature.
- Other symptoms include numbness, stiffness (especially in the neck,
arms and legs), poor coordination, drowsiness, slow or irregular
breathing and heart rate, slurred speech, cool skin and puffiness in the
- As you can see, many of these symptoms are not unusual and could
mean different things. But if you’re exposed to very cold conditions,
take them seriously and take steps to relieve them.