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Washington County, Iowa, ARES Safety


Winter is here are you ready?

The cold and snow will be here before you know it. Are you and your vehicle ready? Shoveling snow is part of living in Iowa so take the precautions found here: Frostbite should be treated immediately! Common sense clothing tips are: Bundle up in several layers of loose clothing. Wear mittens rather than gloves. Cover your ears with a warm hat. Wear socks that will keep your feet warm and dry. Superficial frostbite affects the skin surface, while the underlying tissue remains soft. The skin appears white, waxy or grayish-yellow and is cold and numb. If you suspect frostbite: Get indoors immediately. Seek medical attention. Remove constrictive clothing and jewelry that could impair circulation. Place dry, sterile gauze between toes and fingers to absorb moisture and keep them from sticking together. Elevate the affected area to reduce pain and swelling. For superficial frostbite, you may also place the affected area in water that is 100 to 105 degrees until the tissue softens. Hypothermia occurs when the body's temperature drops below 95 degrees. Severe shivering, one of the first signs of hypothermia, is beneficial in keeping the body warm. But as hypothermia progresses, shivering gives way to drowsiness or exhaustion, confusion, shallow breathing, irregular heartbeat, slurred speech, loss of coordination and, eventually, unconsciousness and even death. In one of the most bizarre symptoms of hypothermia, "paradoxical undressing," a person actually undresses instead of bundling up. Researchers believe that in the final throes of hypothermia, a person may feel like he or she is overheating due to a rush of warm blood to the extremities. So what should you do if you encounter someone suffering from hypothermia? Move the victim inside and remove any wet clothing. Call for medical attention. Add blankets, pillows, towels or newspapers beneath and around the victim. Cover the victim's head. Handle the victim gently to avoid cardiac arrest. Keep the victim in a horizontal position. If necessary, give CPR. None of these steps are a substitute for proper medical care. Be sure to seek medical attention for frostbite and hypothermia as soon as possible. Find these and many more tips at the National Safety Council Website: http://www.nsc.org/