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Connecticut Department of Health Issues Warning With Ongoing Cold Weather

The frigid temperatures have settled in - are you prepared for the deep freeze that's fallen upon Connecticut?

Winter in New England can bring very cold weather. The last week has proven that as the temperature hasn't exceeded the low 20s in Ellington and Somers.

To help cope with the frigid winds and cold, the state Department of Public Health and local police departments in Connecticut offer these tips:

With cold temperatures and winds, it can sometimes feel well below zero degrees. In these extreme cold temperatures, exposed skin can become frostbitten in just a matter of minutes. Hypothermia is when your body's core temperature drops below 95 degrees and can be fatal.

When the extreme cold hits, it's important you do what you can to stay warm. Here are some things you can do to help beat the cold:

  • Dress in layers. This helps keep you insulated and lets you take off or add more layers of clothing as needed. Wear many layers of loose-fitting clothing and stay dry.
  • Cover your skin. When the wind chill brings the temperature well below zero, be sure to cover your skin. In extreme cold, skin exposed to the cold air can get frostbite in just a few minutes. If you have to go outside, you should wear:
    • Hat
    • Scarf or knit face mask to cover your face and mouth
    • Sleeves that are snug at the wrist
    • Mittens (they are warmer than gloves)
    • Water-resistant coat and boots
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages. Beverages with alcohol and caffeine actually make your body lose heat more quickly. Drink hot, sweetened beverages to help you stay warm.
  • Perform your work during the warmest part of the day. People who work outside should do so during the warmest part of the day, if possible.
  • Take frequent breaks from the cold. If you have to be outside, take frequent breaks in warm, dry shelters to let your body warm up.
  • Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Know how to recognize cold illness and when to get medical treatment right away.
  • Make sure infants stay warm. Infants under one year old should not sleep in cold bedrooms because they lose body heat more easily and are unable to shiver to keep themselves warm. Keep them properly clothed and indoors in warm temperatures.
  • Check on elderly neighbors and family members.  People over the age of 65 often are less active and have lower metabolisms, making them lose body heat more quickly. Make sure that the temperature in their home is adequate enough to keep them warm.

And don't forget about pets! The ASPCA has these tips to offer to care for our animal friends.

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