July 2, 2015

Bitter cold creates health concerns for people and pets

The coldest temperatures of the season are forecast for Missouri in the next 24 hours. When your body is exposed to cold temperatures, it begins to lose heat faster than it produces it. Over a prolonged period of time, this results in hypothermia — abnormally low body temperature, which can affect the brain, making you unable to think clearly or move well. It often occurs in the elderly who have inadequate food, clothing or heating; babies who sleep in cold bedrooms; or in people who spend time outdoors for long periods. Warnings signs of hypothermia in adults include shivering and exhaustion; confusion and fumbling; memory loss and slurred speech; and drowsiness. In infants, symptoms include lethargy and bright red, cold skin. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that to alleviate hypothermia, get the victim into a warm room or shelter, remove any wet clothing, warm the center of the body first, and while warm beverages will help, do not give alcoholic beverages.

When it comes to taking care of pets, the Humane Society of the United States says bring in your pets if at all possible. Wipe off paws with a damp towel to remove any salt or ice melt chemicals so they don’t irritate your pet’s feet. For feral cats, and dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors, make sure dry, draft-free shelter is available, along with plenty of fresh, ice-free water. Before starting your car, bang on the hood to scare off any cats or other wildlife that may have taken shelter there.

To check the forecast in your area, visit the

 National Weather Service in Springfield <http://www.crh.noaa.gov/sgf/>, National Weather Service in Kansas City <http://www.crh.noaa.gov/eax/> (Pleasant Hill), or National Weather Service in St. Louis <http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/>. For weather conditions in the far Southeast Missouri portion of Missouri, visit the National Weather Service in Paducah, Ky <http://www.crh.noaa.gov/lsx/>

 

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