With round two of polar air blanketing Illinois, Advocate Condell Medical Center urges residents of Lake County to be safe and follow these simple tips when dealing with the extreme cold.
“If you don’t have to be
outside, obviously, you should stay indoors,” says Dr. Kendra Hall, an
Emergency Medicine physician at Advocate Condell. “But the reality is people
need to go outside, whether it’s to run to the store or head to work.”
Dr. Hall advises all
residents to limit the amount of exposure to the cold. “One of the most
important things people can do in weather like this is to limit the amount of
time they’re exposed to it,” says Dr. Hall. “Try not to be outside any longer
than 20 minutes. Any longer, and you risk frostbite.”
When dressing for the cold
weather, Dr. Hall recommends conserving your natural body heat by following the
C—Cover yourself completely.
Limit the amount of skin exposed to the elements. Make certain to cover your
head, face, neck and hands, where most of your body heat can escape.
O—Overexertion can be
dangerous. When you do too much, your body heats up, naturally sweating to cool
itself down. This added wetness can be extremely dangerous in low wind chills,
adding to the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
L—Layer your clothing.
Thermal underwear is always a good choice, as are sweaters and double layers of
heavy socks. For outer layers, make certain you wear a heavy material, such as
wool or down.
D—Dryness is extremely
important. If your head or feet get wet, your body will lose its natural heat
much faster. Layers help to protect against wetness, as you can remove a top
layer if it gets wet to avoid soaking through to the clothing nearest your
“If you notice any areas of your skin that have changed color—white,
gray or yellow—you may have frostbite,” Dr. Hall says. “The majority of
frostbite can be successfully treated when caught in time, so get to your