As temperatures drop, things can get dangerous.
It’s important to be prepared, take precautions and know your resources.
Here’s a look at some things you should know as brutal cold descends on the Chicago area.
Know Your Cold Weather Symptoms and Warning Signs
How Do I Know If I Have Hypothermia?
Hypothermia is caused by a drop in body temperature to 95 degrees or less, which can become deadly, officials said.
Signs of hypothermia include:
- Slurred speech
- Weak pulse
- Slow heartbeat
- Bright red, cold skin in infants
According to a release, infants and the elderly are more at risk of hypothermia, which should not be treated at home. Individuals suspected to have the condition should be treated at a hospital.
How Should I Avoid Frostbite?
Frostbite could set in on exposed skin in as little as 15 minutes, officials said. The face, ears, hands and feet tend to be the most commonly impacted.
According to a release, frostbite skin is whitish and stiff, and tends to feel numb rather than painful.
In order to treat frostbite, officials advised to warm the affected part of the body gradually before seeking medical attention.
“Wrap the frostbitten area in blankets, sweaters, coats, etc. and seek medical attention immediately,” a release said.
Officials warned to not rub frostbitten areas of the skin because the friction can damage the tissue.
- Signs of frostbite: Numbness, white or grayish-yellow skin, and firm or waxy skin.
- What to do if you think you have frostbite: Go to a warm room. Soak in warm water. Use body heat to warm. Do not massage or use a heating pad.
Dressing for Frigid Weather
Though officials advised people in the Chicago area stay indoors during the cold, these are some ways to keep warm should residents need to go outside, according to a release:
- Wear several layers of lightweight clothing rather than one or two heavy garments because the air between the layers of clothing acts as an insulation
- Cover your head because you lose nearly 50% of body heat through the head
- Wear mittens rather than fingered gloves
- Wear leg coverings and heavy socks or two pairs of lightweight socks
- Wear waterproof boots or sturdy shoes for maximum traction
- Cover your ears and lower part of your face as these areas or more prone to frostbite
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect the lungs from directly inhaling extremely cold air
Traveling in Subzero Temperatures
If travel is necessary in subzero temperatures, officials urge commuters to watch for scattered slick spots likely forming on ramps, overpasses, bridges and shaded areas overnight.
“The team at IDOT will be monitoring the roads, treating them as necessary, and assisting motorists as needed,” Acting Illinois Department of Transportation Secretary Omer Osman said. “Please make sure to have the necessary supplies and equipment in your vehicle should you encounter problems, and do not leave your vehicle in the event…