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How to Protect Yourself in Extremely Cold Weather



Several areas of the U.S. Pat. are experiencing-or will soon experience- ridiculously cold weather . Chicago, for example, is facing lows of -20 degrees and colder, and the city is expected to have a high (yes, high ) of -13 degrees on Wednesday, according to The Weather Channel .

Below are Antarctica and Alaska are experiencing .

Many schools are closed due to the weather, and health officials are warning people to stay indoors. "This is really serious," Nicholas Kman, M.D., an emergency medicine physician at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF.

Drs. He's located in Columbus, Ohio. Kman says one huge concern is hypothermia, which develops when your body loses heat faster that it can produce heat. 95 degrees, per the Mayo Clinic . At that point, your heart, nervous system, and other organs can not work normally. And, if hypothermia is left untreated, you can. "Your body can lose heat very quickly when it's cold outside." Kman says.

Frostbite, which is an injury caused by freezing the skin and underlying tissues, is thus a major issue, according to Dr. med. Kman. "Exposed skin in extreme temperatures can develop frostbite very quickly-in a matter of minutes," he says.

Pulmonary issues are "very concerned" in this kind of weather. Kman says. asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which may lead to congestion and trigger an asthma attack or bronchospasm (where the muscles in the walls of your airways tighten ), Raymond Casciari, MD, pulmonologist at St. Joseph's Hospital in Orange, Calif., Tells SELF.

"Even for folks with no known disease, with these low temperatures, your lung will spasm in this cold weather, if you do not. "You will not be able to catch your breath," he adds. Gary Goldenberg, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital, tells SELF. "Cold weather is the more likely to make dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis worse." moisture out of the skin, causing inflammation, "he s Even if you do not have an underlying skin condition, it may cause cracking, opening up to infection , Dr. Goldenberg explains.

Autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis can get worse in extreme cold, Ayesha Cheema, M.D., a primary care physician at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, tells SELF. "Extreme weather can cause stress on your body, which is thought to contribute to flare-up of autoimmune disorders," she explains.

Amesh A. Adalja, MD, MD,

Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells SELF. That said, the weather could have an indirect effect. For example, flu thrive in the cold and low humidity, he says. Couple that with the fact that they want to be in the country, and you may be at a greater risk of catching the river. "If you're inside more, the flu can find more people to infect." Adalja explains.

There are a few things you can do to keep yourself safe.

Of course, stay indoors if you can. "If you do not have to be exposed, do not go out in it," Casciari says.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain . The batteries are fresh in your smoke and carbon monoxide. That's what it takes to make your fireplace fire safe detectors. Basically, prepare for your home for a while.

Kman recommends having an emergency kit with you that includes jumper cables, extra clothing, a first aid kit, and food and water. And, if you happen to get stuck in your car, make sure your tailpipe is not covered by anything like snow-that could cause fumes to come back to your car and lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, dr. Kman says.

While you're inside, you're looking for good hygiene practice, try to steer clear of people who are sick, and do your best. Adalja says. You'll want to monitor everyone's body temperature (especially if there are any infants in your household) and keep an eye on the temperature in your home, the CDC says . If possible, avoid caffeine and alcohol in favor of broth and warm, sweet beverages that will help you keep up your body temperature.

It's crucial to cover Dr. dr., Dr. med. Kman says; that means wearing a hat, gloves, warm socks and boots, and a scarf. You want to cover your nose and mouth with that as well, and keep it there, dr. Casciari says. In this book, you will be able to feel the breathe in the air.

In addition to staying warm, the CDC so recommends doing your best to stay dry, which means opting for waterproof outerwear and dressing in layers. (If you start to sweat, that increases the amount of heat you loose, so it's important to remove a layer when necessary.) And even when you're bundled up, you want to severely limit the amount of time you spend outside. "You really do not want to be out for more than a few minutes, if you can help it." Casciari says. "This is really a dangerous situation."

Because cold weather puts extra strain on your heart, you want to avoid yourself too much while outside. If you do not take care of any outdoor chores, the CDC recommends working slowly and taking it easy (and, of course, dressing as warmly as possible). If you start shivering, that's a sign that your body is losing heat, which could be dangerous if it continues, the CDC says.

Overall, really, really try to stay inside if you can and accept that our human tolerance to high temperatures as you think. "People think they can not get extreme cold-they can not," Casciari says.

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