WINFIELD, W.Va. — Temperatures are below zero at night and during the day have not climbed above freezing. The conditions in West Virginia, according to forecasters, are expected to stay that way until at least next week before there is a warmup. During those extreme spells of cold, it’s best to guard against two key conditions, hypothermia and frost bite.
“The big thing is hypothermia,” said Frank Chapman, director of Emergency Services in Putnam County. “It can come on a person real quick before they realize it, especially if it’s somebody working outside.”
Symptoms of hypothermia include extreme shivering, confusion, and difficulty speaking.
“You may not notice it, but people around you will,” Chapman said. “By the time you notice those conditions yourself, that’s when you’re getting pretty severe.”
Frostbite can happen just as quickly, particularly when you’re outside with exposed skin. Wearing gloves and something covering the ears is highly recommended.
“Going out and shoveling a driveway or doing some stuff in the yard, stay out no more than 20 minutes or so before you come back in,” said Chapman. “You can get warmed up and then go back out.”
A lot of people have jobs which require them to be outside. In those cases, Chapman said wear layers of insulated clothing and keep an eye on each other for symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia.