Staying safe in the brutal cold starts with preparation

As temperatures dip into dangerously cold territory, health experts are emphasizing the importance of proper preparation and staying inside unless it’s absolutely necessary to go outside.
News 12 Connecticut’s Tom Krosnowski sat down with Dr. Howard Selinger, the chair of family medicine at Quinnipiac University, to talk about the health risks associated with frigid temperatures. He said calls for cold-related injuries don’t often come into Connecticut hospitals, but that doesn’t mean they can’t.
“Dangerously cold – what that refers to really is the risk of frostbite. If you get wet, that more rapidly lowers the temperature in the area where the wet clothing comes into contact with your skin,” said Selinger.
With feels-like temperatures below zero, frostbite can occur in as little as 30 minutes – but you don’t have to be outside to be impacted by the bitter blast.
“If you lose heat in the house, you’re at risk of developing hypothermia, which can alter your mental awareness and confuse you to the point that your survival can be at risk,” said Selinger.
Even though there isn’t much snow on the ground, Selinger said injuries from physical exertion during the winter are another common risk.
“Anyone who does not exercise with some regularity should not go out and do more than they’re accustomed to doing,” said Selinger.
Those at the highest risk include senior citizens and anyone with underlying heart or lung conditions. Selinger said there are ways to protect yourself in such frigid cold, including layering up.
“Every time you layer, the air forms a protective element to keep your body temperature sustained,” said Selinger.