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Good Sam Issues Winter Safety Tips Given Arctic Conditions

How to avoid hypothermia and what to do if it hits.

As West Islip residents have been experiencing, winter can bring a variety of weather conditions ranging from light dustings of snow and scattered rain to severe storms and freezing temperatures. It is important to take extra precautions when braving the elements this season.

As a provider of essential health care services, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center is committed to keeping residents safe and healthy. The following outdoor winter safety tips will help avoid a trip to the emergency room.

During the winter you should dress for the season:
·       Wear loose, lightweight, warm clothing in several layers. Trapped air between the layers acts as an insulator. Layers can be removed to avoid perspiration and subsequent chill.
·       Outer garments should be tightly woven, water repellent and hooded.
·       Always wear a hat or cap on your head since half of your body heat could be lost through an uncovered head.
·       Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs from extreme cold.
·       Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves because fingers maintain more warmth when they touch other.

Winter storm conditions and cold waves are the deadliest types of weather. Cold temperatures put an extra strain on your heart. Heavy exertion, such as shoveling snow, clearing debris or pushing a car, increase the risk of a heart attack.

To avoid problems, remember these tips:
·       Stay warm, dress warm and slow down when working outdoors.
·       Take frequent rests to avoid over exertion.
·       If you feel chest pain, stop and seek help immediately.


Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, especially in children and the elderly.  Watch for these symptoms:
·       Inability to concentrate
·       Poor coordination
·       Slurred speech
·       Drowsiness
·       Exhaustion
·       Uncontrollable shivering, followed by a sudden lack of shivering.


If a person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, get emergency medical assistance immediately. Remove wet clothing, wrap the victim in warm blankets and give warm, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids until help arrives.


People working or playing outdoors during the winter can develop frostbite and not even know it. There is no pain associated with the early stages of frostbite, so learn to watch for these danger signs:
·       First, the skin may feel numb and become flushed.  Then it turns white or grayish-yellow.  Frostbitten skin feels cold to the touch.
·       If frostbite is suspected, move the victim to a warm area and cover the affected area with something warm and dry. Never rub it!
·       Get to a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible.

Please read your owner’s manual and follow these tips when operating a snow blower:
·       Never leave your snow blower running and unattended.
·       Make sure to discharge chutes or augers to clear stuck snow and ice.
·       Never add fuel when the engine is running and hot.
·       Make sure you know how to turn the machine off quickly.
Remember to always use caution when dealing with outside elements.  

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