Snow, cold are here: Watch for frostbite, hypothermia

Allegan County Health Department offers tips for keeping warm and safe.

As frigid winter weather in Michigan continues, know the signs and how to prevent frostbite and hypothermia for you and your loved ones. Visit the CDC Preventing Hypothermia & Frostbite page to learn more. 

The Allegan County Health Department offers these tips:

Spotting Frostbite and Hypothermia

Frostbite

  • Redness or pain in any skin area  
  • White or grayish-yellow skin area 
  • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy 
  • Numbness 

If you notice signs of frostbite, seek medical care. If you cannot get medical help immediately, take steps to protect yourself and others.

Hypothermia in Adults

  • Shivering 
  • Exhaustion 
  • Confusion 
  • Fumbling hands 
  • Memory loss 
  • Slurred Speech 
  • Drowsiness 

 Hypothermia in infants

  • Bright red, cold skin 
  • Very low energy 

Hypothermia is a medical emergency. If you notice any of these signs, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95 degrees Fahrenheit the situation is an emergency — get medical attention immediately. If you are not able to get medical help right away, try to warm the person up. 

Avoiding Hypothermia & Frostbite:
Dress Warmly and Stay Dry

Clothes and Gear

  • Hat 
  • A scarf or knit mask to cover the face and mouth 
  • Sleeves that are snug at the wrist 
  • Mittens (they are warmer than gloves) 
  • Water-resistant coat and boots 
  • Several layers of loose-fitting clothing 

Layers

  • Inner Layer: Wear fabrics that will hold more body heat and don’t absorb moisture. Wool, silk, or polypropylene will hold more body heat than cotton. 
  • Insulation Layer: An insulation layer will help you retain heat by trapping air close to your body. Natural fibers, like wool, goose down, or fleece, work best. 
  • Outer Layer: The outermost layer helps protect you from wind, rain, and snow. It should be tightly woven and preferably water and wind-resistant to reduce loss of body heat.