Extreme Cold: Local Emergency Room doctors and nurses warn of life-threatening wind chills

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DAVENPORT, Iowa - If you fall and can't get up on a day like today, it could be potentially fatal, according to an official at Genesis Health System.

That's because temperatures are dangerously cold. Some wind chills are as low as -50 degrees below zero.

A person standing outside, with exposed skin, in wind chills that low could get frostbite in as little as 5 minutes.

The risks of frostbite and hypothermia are so serious, that doctors and nurses at Genesis Medical Center East discussed signs and symptoms on Good Morning Quad Cities Wednesday morning.

Here are the reminders and suggestions they offered:

Hypothermia

Overexposure to cold temperatures or cold water can be deadly. Here are some tips to treat overexposure:

Warning signs: Confusion or sleepiness; slowed, slurred speech, or shallow breathing; weak pulse or low blood pressure; a change in behavior; severe shivering or no shivering; poor control over body movements or slow reactions.
What to do: Get the victim into a warm room or shelter; remove clothes from victim if they are wet; warm the center of the body first – chest, neck, head, groin – using an electric blanket if one is available; use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels; give warm beverages; get medical attention as soon as possible; if victim is unconscious, CPR may be necessary.

Frostbite

Warning Signs: A white or grayish-yellow area on skin; skin that feels unusually firm or “waxy’’; numbness.
What to do: Get medical care; if there is no sign of hypothermia, or medical care is not available, get person into a warm room as soon as possible; do not walk or use frostbitten extremities; immerse injured area in warm water; warm injured area with body heat; don’t use heating pad, heat lamp or heat of a stove, fireplace or radiator because injured areas can be easily burned.

Meanwhile, Genesis Medical Center West is open to anyone who needs to escape the cold.

The hours there are 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. until Thursday, January 31.

A full of list of warming centers can be found by clicking here.

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