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Archive for Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wind chill poses physical dangers

With dangerously low temperatures in store for the area over the weekend, precautions to battle against frostbite and hypothermia must be taken.

January 7, 2010

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Every winter, Lawrence Memorial Hospital emergency department doctors treat people who suffer from hypothermia and frostbite. What those patients may not realize is that it’s the wind chill — not just the cold temperature — that’s usually to blame.

“Wind chill will accentuate the dangers that we normally experience during really cold temperatures,” Dr. Darin Elo said.

In essence, wind chill is the temperature felt by exposed skin from the wind. Higher wind speeds and lower temperatures can cause greater and quicker heat loss.

Today, Elo recommends staying indoors. But if you must be outside, he said, layer your clothes and cover your face. He also warned that alcohol and drugs can diminish your ability to judge whether your body is dangerously cold.

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