Doctor Gives Preparedness Tips for Dangerously Cold Temperatures

Swedish American Doctors says residents need to be prepared for cold weather

ROCKFORD - The cold weather can be a nuisance when grabbing the mail, or driving to and from work.  However, when it's exceptionally cold, it can be deadly, resulting in visits to the emergency room.  A doctor from Swedish American says residents need to be prepared when they go outside.

"I would say I'm used to it, but it's hard to get used to something this cold,"said Darin White, a Rockford Resident.

Arctic temperatures breezing through the Midwest. Visual signs that winter is full force with snow covering bushes, streets and sidewalks.  

"In this part of the country, this is what it does in December and January," said White.  

However, doctors say don't let pride get in the way of staying warm.  Swedish American Dr. Zachary Hathway warns frostbite or hypothermia can happen pretty quickly.

"When it gets so cold, the wind itself could be a really big factor," Hathway.  "They need to be careful of just exposed skin."
Doctor Hathway warns exposed skin could result in frostbite or hypothermia. Frostbite symptoms include an uncontrollable shiver, confusion memory loss, and slurred speech.

"We see a lot more of those, especially, in the evenings," said Dr. Hathway.  "Sometimes [it's] homeless [people],  sometimes non-homeless [people], but more we tend to see in the evenings."

There are some who have no choice but to work outside.  Hathway says it's important to have a backup plan to stay warm.

"If you're outside working and get that moisture that builds up in your feet, [try] keeping dry," said Hathway.   "Having an extra pair of socks if you're outside for a long time, just to keep skin dry."

People bundled up and wearing layers are common sights in Downtown Rockford.

"Best I can do is just prepare for it," said White.  "[I] put a coat on, put some warm clothes on that's about it."

Julius Willis, a Rockford Resident put on layers too.

"[I] wear my corduroys in the winter and a nice thick coat," said Willis.

Doctor Hathway says the best way to warm up is to take a hot bath or soak your feet in warm water.


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