Exposure to cold temperatures can cause serious and life-threatening health problems, including frostbite and hypothermia. Seek immediate medical attention for symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia. Frostbite causes skin to appear red and feel painful. Without immediate medical attention, skin will then turn white or grayish and feel firm, waxy or numb. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, and drowsiness.
When possible, people should stay indoors, in homes and buildings that are properly heated. If your home is not heated, find other safe ways to stay warm.
- Wear winter clothing indoors, including layers of warm clothes, as well as socks, shoes, and hats. Use blankets for additional warmth.
- Close off unused, exterior rooms and gather together in a single interior room.
- Seek shelter in heated public places, like malls, libraries and homeless shelters.
- Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
- Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
- Be aware of the wind chill factor.
- Work slowly when doing outside chores.
- Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
- Avoid traveling when the weather service has issued advisories.
- If you must travel, inform a friend or relative of your proposed route and expected time of arrival.
- Carry a cell phone.