(WTNH) — We’ve got some very cold weather in the forecast for this weekend. Temperatures may drop so low that being outside for more than a few minutes could be dangerous.
When it gets this cold outside experts say hypothermia can set in in just 10 to 15 minutes. Young children, the elderly and anyone under the influence of drugs or alcohol are at a higher risk for hypothermia. It may start with just shivering, but eventually it affects a person’s brain. Their mental status may change and they will not think as quickly; therefore, they may not realize they are too cold and developing hypothermia.
Frostbite is also a risk when it’s bitterly cold out. If someone is developing frostbite, his or her skin color will change from red to white in a short period of time. It may then turn a bluish color.
“Frostbite can be recognized sometimes as a painful sensation, change of your skin color,” said Dr. Asim Tarabar, Attending Physician at Yale-New Haven Hospital. “People will develop initially pain and then after that will not feel anything.”
If frostbite or hypothermia is setting in move the person to a warm environment and change their clothes – especially if they are wet. Make sure to give them warm – not hot – water to warm them up.
The bitterly cold weather can not only be dangerous for you, it can take a toll on your car as well. Experts recommend keeping an emergency kit in your car just in case you have car trouble. Keep things like extra jackets, blankets and gloves inside. Also, make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you head out, that way you can call for help if you need to.
When the temperatures go down, the number of calls that AAA gets for help goes up. Some people get locked out of their cars, since locks can freeze. Use silicon oil to lubricate them when it is very cold out. You’ll want to have other fluids on hand too. Check your antifreeze and your windshield washer fluid levels.
It is important to check your car battery before you head out as well, especially if it is more than 3 or 4 years old. Many drivers find themselves with dead batteries when it is extremely cold outside. Keep a set of jumper cables in your car, just in case.
“Cold weather takes a toll on the hardiest of batteries,” said Fran Mayko of AAA Northeast. “We always anticipate a lot of jump starts or battery replacements because people don’t realize that they need to get their battery tested.”
Speaking of batteries, experts recommend keeping a flashlight and extra batteries in your car just in case of an emergency.