Staying safe this winter


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — We’ve been enjoying some warmer weather these past few days, but even with the sun out experts say cold weather can be dangerous.

Experts say hypothermia can set in at just 50 degrees. If it’s rainy or windy, it can set in at even higher temps.

Cold weather is here to stay for a few months and that means it’s time to bundle up.

Toni Bizcarra is working construction outside all day which is why he’s layering up.

“Couple clothes and gloves, it’s working pretty good,” Bizzarra said.

Scott Christensen with PatientCare EMS says being exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period of time can lead to hypothermia, which is why adding on a few extra layers is so important.

“Hypothermia is a condition when your body loses its temperature, or its heat faster than it can produce it,” Christensen said.

He says hypothermia can set in slowly, but when you factor in wind chill and wet weather, you can lose body heat even faster.

While anyone can develop hypothermia, The Cleveland Clinic says children and elderly are at a higher risk.

“When you start to shiver that’s a sign that you’re maybe losing heat faster than you can produce it because now your body is trying to react, trying to force you to produce heat,” Christensen said.

He says if you notice yourself or others shivering, don’t panic.

Instead seek shelter and warm up.

But if the shivering stops and other symptoms develop, it’s important to take action.

Symptoms such as confusion or drowsiness are signals that hypothermia is setting in, and it’s time to call 911.

As your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t function normally according to Mayo Clinic.

“Hypothermia can kill and does kill,” Christensen said.

Which is why wearing hats, gloves, coats and extra layers as well as knowing the warning signs is crucial.

Christensen adds that alcohol can also play a factor in hypothermia, and suggests people be cautious when consuming adult beverages in the cold.

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