Health Department Warns of Wind Chill Hazards

by WHIZ Reporter on January 13, 2012 at 11:03 am

With those cold temperatures and gusty winds, the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department reminds you that it can be dangerous if you are going to be outside.

Medical Director Dr. Vicki Whitacre said the single digit wind-chills can cause respiratory problems for the elderly, those with chronic diseases and newborn babies younger than six months.

"They always need to have at least a t-shirt underneath their shirt, and wrapped in a blanket," said Whitacre. "When you’re taking them out in this kid of weather, they need all of that plus extra blankets and maybe even a snow suit. And their heads are very big compared to the rest of their body. If you don’t keep a hat or keep the majority of the head covered, they’re going to lose heat very fast, and they can get sick."

Young children lose heat faster than adults. Children who go outside to play in the cold should be bundled up, and take frequent breaks to warm up.
In the winter months, windy conditions can cause you to lose body heat faster than non-windy days, so Dr. Whitacre said remember scarfs, gloves and earmuffs so you can retain heat..
Dr. Whitacre also says those who are impaired by alcohol and drugs run serious risks to their health and safety in the cold.

"It really does happen, and we’re having lots of problems with drugs these days," added Whitacre. "Someone who is intoxicated will go outside and really get frozen, or a bad case of frostbite. And, of course, homeless people are at risk of that, also.""

Dr. Whitacre said now is a good time to plan ahead for the next storm and stockpile supplies you might need in case of an emergency, like blankets, heaters, and batteries.