With the current conditions of ice and show in metro Atlanta, the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness and the Atlanta Fulton County Emergency Management Agency (AFCEMA) are warning citizens about the dangers of exposure to extreme cold. Exposure to cold temperatures can cause serious or life-threatening health problems. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but the lives of animals can also be at risk.
"In severe weather conditions where the temperature drops very low causing extreme cold, we strongly advise citizens to try to stay indoors," said Dr. Patrice Harris, Director of Health and Wellness. “These conditions can lead to hypothermia and frostbite if citizens are not careful to limit trips outside and remember to take the necessary steps to be prepared for winter emergencies thereby reducing the risks of weather-related health problems.”
Health emergencies are more likely in extreme cold especially with more vulnerable populations, such as infants and young children, seniors, and those without proper shelter or who live in poorly insulated homes with little or no heat.
The Atlanta Fulton County Emergency Agency says that preparing for extreme winter weather conditions is vital for preventing winter health related issues.
The winter weather checklists from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a recommended resource.
Other health tips to keep residents safe during extreme cold temperatures include:
• Wearing several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear mittens rather than gloves. Wear a hat. Cover mouth with a scarf to protect lungs from extremely cold air.
• Watching for signs of frostbite and hypothermia
o Signs of frostbite include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, or numbness.
o Signs of hypothermia include slurred speech, disorientation, uncontrollable shivering, stumbling, drowsiness and body temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
Should you develop health issues due to extreme winter weather conditions, contact your physician or seek medical attention immediately.