Cold weather creates medical concerns


As the cold weather sets in, so do the health risks.

"You can actually start to feel better when things are actually getting much worse," said Dr. Noel Wagner, medical director with Saginaw Valley Medical Control.

Wagner said frostbite and hypothermia have several warning signs like shivering or discomfort. He said those signs won't last for long in this weather.

"These symptoms will subside and sometimes people actually have a euphoria where they feel very good. And that just makes the problem worse because they have even less desire to get out of the cold," Wagner said.

For victims who have hypothermia and frostbite, those two symptoms can compete against one another. While one is taking away heat from your extremities, the other is giving it to your core.

"If you get cold enough, you get frostbite. Which is freezing of the cells. Whether that's the fingers being frozen or your blood actually freezing. We do tend to vasoconstrict on the surface so we don't have as much blood on the surface of our skin. Our body wants to put it down in the middle to stay warm when we get cold," Wagner said.

If you happen to find yourself stranded without heat or proper clothing, Wagner recommends calling 911.

"The next best thing would be to get out of the wind as much as possible. The wind chill strips the protective warm layer around your body. So just getting out of the wind will give you some extra time," Wagner said.

Copyright 2018 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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