Allentown
63° F
Clear
Clear

Cold weather health and safety tips

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Jan 03 2014 09:04:36 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2014 09:36:44 PM CST

The snow, ice and cold also bring health and safety concerns for you and your family.

The snow, ice and cold also bring health and safety concerns for you and your family.

Snowy day activities and winter sports can be a lot of fun. But health experts say being out in the elements also comes with the risk of injury. Every year thousands of kids are rushed to the hospital after getting hurt while sledding.

"If you're not careful where you're sledding you can end up in a road and get hit by a car, you can run into trees and that sort of thing," explained Lehigh Valley Health Network Dr. Mike Weigner.

He says folks need to bundle up in layers and protect their bodies from the cold.

"One of the main things to worry about is just being too cold," Weigner added. "You have to worry about hypothermia being outside without good clothing on for a long period of time, you can get really cold really fast."

In fact, health experts say in weather this cold it can take just 15 minutes to get frostbite on exposed skin.

"Initially you'll have a tingling feeling and eventually it can become completely numb," shared Weigner.

If you have sidewalks and driveways to clear, be aware that you're not over-doing it. It's not uncommon to have a heart attack while shoveling. Another possible hazard is snow blowers. Doctors say each year they see people lose fingers trying to clear the machines with their hands.

"Be very, very careful with snow blowers," cautioned Weigner. "Even if the snow blower is turned off it can develop torque in it, so you never want to put your hand in it even if it's turned off."

He says other potential risks are car accidents, and breaking bones from slipping and falling on the snow, slush and ice.

"Be really safe, but if you have a problem we are always here."