Written by The Herald-News
The Red Cross of Montana released a press release that gives you tips on taking care of yourself in cold temperatures if you are spending a lot of time outdoors.
Rod Kopp, CEO of Montana Red Cross, said everyone should prepare for the worst when they venture outside.
The Montana Red Cross recommends you should have the following items during the winter season:
●A three-day supply of water, one gallon per person per day.
●A flashlight with batteries.
●Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and extra batteries.
●A fully-stocked first-aid kit.
●A seven-day supply of medications and medical items.
●Supplies for babies and pets.
If you want more information on what to do in an emergency where medical help is delayed, you can take a First Aid and CPR/AED course and by download the free American Red Cross First Aid App.
During a winter storm the Montana Red Cross suggests you do the following:
●Listen and watch for information from the National Weather Service.
●Bring pets inside and move other animals and livestock to sheltered areas.
●Stay inside. If people must go out, wear warm, loose-fitting, lightweight clothing in layers.
●Minimize your travel. If travel is necessary, keep emergency supplies in your vehicles.
●If possible, the Red Cross also asks that everyone check in on their neighbors, especially those requiring special assistance and those living alone.
●For additional information, visit redcross.org/wintersafety.
Frostbite and hypothermia are conditions that happen during cold-related emergencies that may quickly become life or limb threatening. Some tips that can help prevent frostbite, hypothermia and other cold-related emergencies include:
●Not starting an activity in, on or around cold water unless you know you can get help quickly in an emergency.
●Be aware of the wind chill.
●Dress appropriately and avoid staying in the cold too long.
●Wear a hat and gloves when appropriate with layers of clothing.
●Drink plenty of warm fluids or warm water but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
●Stay active to maintain body heat.
●Take frequent breaks from the cold.
●Avoid unnecessary exposure of any part of the body to the cold.
●Get out of the cold immediately if the signals of hypothermia or frostbite appear.
Frostbite is the freezing of a specific body part such as fingers, toes, the nose or earlobes. Symptoms of frostbite include lack of feeling in the affected area; skin that appears waxy, is cold to the touch, or is discolored (flushed, white or gray, yellow or blue).
If you or someone you know gets frostbite, the Red Cross suggests you do the following:
●Move the person to a warm place.
●Handle the affected area gently, but never rub the affected area.
●Warm gently the affected area by soaking the area in warm water (100° to 105° F) until it appears red and feels warm.
●Loosely bandage the area with dry, sterile dressings.
●If the person’s fingers or toes are frostbitten, place dry, sterile gauze between them to keep them separated.
●Avoid breaking any blisters.
●Do not allow the affected area to refreeze.
●Seek professional medical care as soon as possible.
Hypothermia is another cold-related emergency that can be life-threatening. It is caused by the cooling of the body caused by the failure of the body’s warming. The goals of first-aid is to restore normal body temperature and to care for any conditions while waiting for emergency medical services. Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, numbness, glassy stare; apathy, weakness, impaired judgment; loss of consciousness.
What to do for hypothermia:
1. Call 911.
2. Gently move the person to a warm place.
3. Monitor breathing and circulation.
4. Give rescue breathing and CPR if needed.
5. Remove any wet clothing and dry the person.
6. Warm the person slowly by wrapping in blankets or by putting dry clothing on the person. Hot water bottles and chemical hot packs may be used when first wrapped in a towel or blanket before applying. Do not warm the person too quickly, such as by immersing him or her in warm water as rapid warming may cause dangerous heart arrhythmias. Warm the core area first such as trunk or abdomen. Do not warm the extremities like the hands or feet first as this can cause shock.