Doctors Warn of Health Hazards During Extreme Cold

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Staying warm is so important because when the temperatures drop as low as they're going to on Sunday night, hypothermia and frostbite can set in in just a matter of minutes.

Symptoms like shivering, confusion, mumbling and drowsiness are all signs of hypothermia. That’s happens when your body temperature drops below 95 degrees. Doctors suggest dressing in layers to stay warm and covering as much skin as possible will help prevent frostbite. One mistake doctors say people make is by covering their feet with plastic bags.

"That makes you sweat. When you're wet the cold sinks in and the hypothermia can set in very quickly, even though you don't freeze, you can get very cold and very ill," says Dr. Peter Thompson, an ER doctor at SwedishAmerican Hospital.

Doctors say the best way to warm up extremely cold hands or feet is to start with lukewarm water and gradually increase the temperature.

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