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Frostbite begins when your skin becomes numb and starts to turn pale, or even white. You may start to feel warm, but this is not a good sign at this stage because it is an adverse reaction to the frostbite. If not treated immediately, the skin of the affected body parts will start to die and will turn black.
As your body tries to fight the frostbite, you may experience intense shivering, loss of coordination, slurred speech and drowsiness. It is imperative to seek warmth and emergency help as soon as possible.
3. Monitor carbon monoxide levels.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas. Without taking proper measures, you will not know it is present until it is too late. Therefore, it is imperative to keep a carbon monoxide detector in your home and any other place where you use a heat source.
Carbon monoxide can be produced from a natural gas or wood fireplace, as well as from kerosene and similarly fueled heaters. A good way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to have your equipment checked each season and ensure there is proper ventilation.
Here are the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- A dull headache.
- Shortness of breath.
- Blurred vision.
- Loss of consciousness.
Don’t let these symptoms fool you into thinking you simply have the flu, especially if you use one of the heat sources mentioned. Get outside immediately in the fresh air. Call 911 as soon as possible and have your home and source tested for the leak.
4. Watch for the signs of hypothermia.
Don’t take shivering lightly. It could be a sign that your core body temperature is dropping. Shivering doesn’t mean you are in danger yet, however. You still have time to act. If the shivering becomes uncontrollable, more than likely hypothermia is setting in. It is imperative that you get to a warm place soon.
Know the signs of hypothermia:
- You experience
- You start to feel clumsy.
- You begin to feel drowsy.
- The shivering becomes uncontrollable.
- The shivering stops
- Your speech is slurred.
- You notice you are making poor decisions.
- Your energy levels are dropping fast.
Treatments for hypothermia:
- Remove any wet clothing.
- Keep moving. You need to raise your body temperature.
- Move toward warmth and a shelter if possible.
- Begin re-warming with dry clothing, blankets, heat packs or by a fire.
- Drink hot liquids — but, not alcohol or caffeine, which can aid in heat loss.
Remember that other hazards are possible too, such as injuries from shoveling snow. Be smart, be aware, and do things as safely as possible.
It is better to be prepared for wintertime emergencies than not to be. You never know when you might find yourself in a survival situation.
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