December 21, 2022
For Immediate Release
Contact: Daisy Hernandez, 860-638-4962
Protecting Yourself In Bitter, Cold Weather
City Health Department Offers Advice on Avoiding Frostbite and Hypothermia
Middletown — As frigid temperatures settle in over the next several days, the city’s health department is warning about two cold weather health problems — frostbite and hypothermia, as well as reminding residents about where they can seek respite from the cold.
Mayor Ben Florsheim has announced that the city’s warming shelter is located at Wesley Inn and Suites at 988 Washington Street. The Middletown Police Station located at 222 Main Street is also a warming center open 24 hours, 7 days a week. Additionally, the Russell Library located at 133 Broad Street and City Hall located at 245 deKoven Drive, serve as warming centers during normal business hours. United Way’s 2-1-1 is also available 24 hours, 7 days a week to provide residents with information and resources available regarding winter storm and extreme cold weather events.
Frostbite is damage to the skin and underlying tissues caused by prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures. The fingers and toes are the most commonly affected but other extremities including the nose, ears, chin, and cheeks can develop frostbite. Frostbite can range from mild (also called frost nip) to severe or deep. Signs and symptoms of frostbite include cold skin and a pricking feeling numbness, red, white, bluish-white or grayish-yellow skin hard or waxy looking skin. Treatment for mild frostbite includes re-warming of the skin. Other types of frostbite require medical attention because of possible damage to the skin, tissues, muscle, bones, and nerves.
Hypothermia is an abnormally low body temperature caused by prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. Body temperature that is extremely low can affect the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. People who are most at risk are older adults with inadequate food, clothing, or heating and people who remain outdoors for long periods – the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, slurred speech, exhaustion or feeling tired, memory loss, confusion, or bright red, cold skin.
If hypothermia is suspected, seek immediate medical attention. While waiting for emergency help to arrive, gently move the person into a warm room or shelter if possible. If clothing is wet, carefully remove and replace with warm, dry coats or blankets. Warm drinks can help increase body temperature, but do not give alcoholic drinks.
To prevent frostbite and hypothermia, limit time outdoors in cold wet or windy weather. Dress in several layers of loose, warm clothing (air trapped between layers of clothing acts as insulation). Wear windproof and waterproof outer garments that keep moisture away from skin. Wear a hat or headband that fully covers the ears. Wear mittens or gloves (mittens tend to be warmer), wool or polypro socks, and warm, waterproof shoes or boots. Eat well-balanced meals and stay hydrated by drinking warm, non-alcoholic, caffeine-free beverages.
Wishing everyone a safe and healthy holiday season! For any questions, please contact the Community Health Educator at 860-638-4962 or at Daisy.Hernandez@middletownct.gov.