What’s going around: Repercussions of cold weather

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MADISON (WKOW) — The snow and cold seem to be inevitable right now.  Doctors say preventing health repercussions is key.

Dr. Kyle Martin, an emergency room physician at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, said his office has had a lot more people in from slipping and falling, so be sure to take short, slow steps to stay stable on slippery streets and sidewalks.

Shoveling can also be hard on the body.  Dr. Martin said, be sure to warm up your muscles, take breaks and stay hydrated.  Break up your shoveling into shifts rather than powering through.  It’s time to get medical help, even call 911, if you have shortness of breath or pain in the chest, arms back, neck or jaw.

Courtesy: SSM Health

Dr. Martin also emphasized with the dangerous cold we’re expecting, to protect yourself from frostbite.  It’s most common on your fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. The skin will feel prickly or numb, may change colors, or look waxy or hard.

To treat frostbite, Dr. Martin said you should slowly rewarm the skin with warm water or blankets.  Severe frostbite will require medical attention, as will hypothermia if you notice intense shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness or loss of coordination.

Dr. Martin also wanted to note that your body reacts differently to drinking alcohol in the cold.  You have a false sense of warmth, when you’re actually more vulnerable to conditions like frostbite.

Caroline Bach

Caroline Bach

Anchor, Wake Up Wisconsin Weekend

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