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Georgetown Ministry Center Georgetown Ministry Center
November 1, 2011

 

It’s November 1, which means that hypothermia season has officially started. We’ve all felt the onset of colder weather, especially with the flurries last Saturday, and we should all take care to prevent hypothermia. Winter is an especially difficult for the thousands of homeless people in the region, but one of the simplest steps you can take to help is to call the Hypothermia Hotline at 1-800-535-7252 when you see someone in need. The Shelter Hotline can provide transportation to emergency shelters and distribute items such as blankets, gloves and jackets.

Read on after the jump to learn more about the causes and symptoms of hypothermia.

Hypothermia season begins November 1 and ends March 31.

Hypothermia occurs when the core body temperature drops below 95 degrees. As you may remember from elementary school science class, the body’s core temperature is usually 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothermia happens because the the body loses heat faster than it is able to produce it.

Causes

  • exposure to cold temperatures
  • prolonged exposures to cool or damp temperatures
  • inadequate protective clothing

Signs and Symptoms

  • slurred speech
  • slow breathing
  • cold, pale skin
  • disorientation
  • fatigue or loss of muscle coordination

Prevention

  • stay DRY. Wet clothing prevents the body from retaining heat efficiently and can lead to infections, tissue and nerve damage, and death.
  • wear LAYERS. Ideally, we should all be wearing an base layer to wick away sweat, a second insulating layer, and an outer one to protect against the elements. It is especially important to keep the base layer dry, as that is the one that rests against our skin.

If you think you are suffering from the onset of hypothermia, or if you see someone whom you think might be in danger, please play it safe and call 911 or the Hypothermia Hotline at 1-800-535-7252.

Information gathered from the D.C. Department of Human Services and D.C. Department of Health.

Categories: Weather

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