Two dangers that may arise from extreme cold are frostbite and hypothermia.
Hypothermia, the most serious of cold-related illnesses, is the result of prolonged exposure to cold. The body temperature becomes so low that the brain is affected, making the person unable to think clearly or move well. The warning signs for adults are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling with hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. Warning signs for infants are bright red colored skin and very low energy.
A person whose body temperature is below 95° F should seek medical attention immediately. If medical attention is not available, the person should be moved to a warm room or shelter, wet clothing should be removed and the person kept dry. Warming the body from the inside out, by drinking warm beverages is important.
Frostbite, a milder form of cold-related illness, is an injury to the body caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas, most often the face and extremities. Frostbite can severely damage the body and lead to amputation. The warning sings of frostbite are white or grayish-yellow skin areas, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness.
Anyone detecting symptoms of frostbite should seek medical care. If medical attention is not available, and there are no signs of hypothermia, the person should be taken to a warm room or shelter and the affected area immersed in warm (not hot) water. The affected area may be warmed with body heat; no rubber implements or electrical devices such as heating pads or lamps should be used.
City Posts Warning About Extreme ColdAccording to the National Weather Service, temperatures will be dangerously low today continuing through tomorrow with wind chill values reaching as low as -1 today and -5 on Tuesday. The Evanston Health Department urges all residents to take preventive actions during this extremely cold weather to avoid weather-related illness, such as hypothermia or frostbite. The City of Evanston offers a variety of services to protect the public from extreme cold temperatures. Exposure to cold temperatures, whether indoors or outside, can be dangerous to anyone, but particularly the elderly, infants and young children, persons with disabilities and people on medication.
During times of extreme cold, residents are encouraged to take advantage of warming centers across the City.
Those without heat may visit the following public warming centers:
• Chandler-Newberger Center, 1028 Central St., open till 6 p.m.
• Ecology Center, 2024 McCormick Blvd., open till 4:30 p.m.
• Fleetwood-Jourdain Center, 1655 Foster St., open till 7 p.m.
• Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes St., open till 7 p.m.
• Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave., open till 9 p.m.
• Robert Crown Center, 1701 Main St., open Mon. 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Tues.-Thur.: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Fri.: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sat.: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sun.: Noon – 4 p.m.