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Don't Risk Hypothermia During Cold Weather

Summary: The polar vortex has brought deadly cold to many areas of the country this winter. Are you protecting yourself and your loved ones against hypothermia?
Air Date: 1/31/14
Duration: 10
Host: Dr. Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Juan Fitz, MD
Dr. Juan Fitz is an Attending Emergency Physician and Co-Medical Director of the Chest Pain Center at Covenant Medical in Lubbock, Texas. He is also on the Clinical Faculty at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. Dr. Fitz is a post board member of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians, past chair of the Texas Medical Association Trauma Committee and Past President of the Lubbock County Medical Society.
Don't Risk Hypothermia During Cold Weather
Winter has been extremely brutal across the country this season. The Polar Vortex has brought icy temperatures that are unseasonably cold, especially in areas that are not accustomed to icy, wintery conditions.

Some areas of the country have dealt with deadly cold.

Dr. Juan Fitz, an expert on cold weather injuries, joins Dr. Leigh to talk about hypothermia and how you can best protect yourself this winter.

Hypothermia is a condition where your body's temperature drops below that required for normal metabolism and bodily functions. This is something you must be aware of when the temperatures get so dangerously low.

Hypothermia can cause your heart and brain to slow down and result in an irregular heart beat, eventually leading to no heart beat which, as you know, ultimately leads to death.

The following people are at the highest risk: the elderly, children and those people that are on certain medications.

If you must be outside during extreme cold conditions, take the following precautions:

Remember C.O.L.D.
C - Cover yourself on all exposed areas (hands, face)
O - avoid Overexertion
L - Layers are key; dress warmly and keep extra blankets and clothing nearby
D - stay as Dry as possible

Also, do not drink alcohol as it can actually speed up the effects, and try and go inside to warm up as often as possible

If you see someone that has been subjected to cold and they begin to get clumsy, start fumbling around, acting slow or out of character, they may have begun the effects of hypothermia. You should immediately get them to an Emergency Department or call 911.