Tips to protect your health during a cold wave

The mass of polar cold that we have right now on us is leaving minimum temperatures that during the early morning have reached the 0 degrees. To avoid that this polar cold affects our health, the Department of Universal Health and Public Health recommends a series of measures to the public to protect our health in the face of this drop in temperatures.

First, it is recommended to dress well and avoid prolonged exposure to cold, paying special attention to areas of the body such as the head, neck, hands and feet.

In addition, Health reminds that it is advisable to make hot meals that provide the necessary energy, as well as drinking hot drinks that help maintain body temperature. Limit outdoor activities, especially if you belong to a risk group.

As for recommendations for inside the house, it is advisable to carefully check the status of the electrical installation in order to prevent dangerous situations that may cause fire risk, as with gas stoves or wood fireplaces.

What to do in the face of the cold

Extreme cold can cause two direct effects that are freezing and hypothermia. In the case of superficial freezing, which mainly affects the cheeks, ears and fingers, the most frequent symptoms are redness of the skin, tingling and a painful sensation of itching or burning. In the case of deep freezing, both the skin and the muscles or bones freeze and the symptoms are transformation of the hard and white skin, which could lead to ulcers or gangrene.

To protect a victim from freezing, it is recommended to move it to a warm place, remove any tight clothing and wet clothes, dry it and keep it warm. If close medical help is available, the affected areas should be wrapped with sterile compresses (without forgetting to separate the fingers from the affected hands and feet) and bring the affected person to a point of medical emergency.

If this situation occurs in an isolated area, submerge the affected areas in warm water (not hot) or put warm cloths on the affected areas of ears, nose, cheeks during 20 or 30 minutes. The recommended water temperature is 38-40ºC.

In case of hypothermia, the body loses more heat than it can generate and is usually caused by prolonged exposure to cold. As the person experiences hypothermia, the ability to think and move is often slowly lost. Symptoms include confusion, drowsiness, weakness and loss of coordination, decreased respiratory rate and heart rate. If symptoms of hypothermia such as confusion or changes in mental state occur, call the emergency telephone number 112.

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