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Use caution, limit areas of exposed skin and dress in layers

January 24, 2013, Brooklyn, NY…
In light of the extreme cold spell and the upcoming snow expected for Friday, Lutheran Medical Center is urging the community to be aware of critical -- but simple -- safety tips.

"Unusually cold temperatures can be extremely dangerous and it's important to think ahead and be prepared," said Bonnie Simmons, D.O., F.A.C.E.P., SVP and chair of Emergency Medicine at Lutheran Medical Center. "We are all at risk for frostnip, frostbite, hypothermia, slips on ice and other winter emergencies. Always dress warm and in layers with special attention to your head, face, hands and feet."

Dress/drink appropriately when going outdoors:
• The air temperature does not have to be below freezing for someone to experience cold emergencies such as frostnip/frostbite and hypothermia.
• Dress in layers. Wear gloves or mittens, and replace wet clothing immediately.
• Wear warm boots or shoes with good traction to avoid falls. Be cautious while walking on icy roads and sidewalks.
• Avoid beverages with alcohol or caffeine, they will make you more susceptible to cold-weather emergencies. Drink hot cider, soup or broth, which warm you and give you nutrients and energy.
• Asthmatics and those with any lung illness (COPD, chronic bronchitis, etc.) should avoid the cold when possible.

Recognize the symptoms of cold weather illnesses such as hypothermia and frostbite:
• Symptoms of hypothermia include confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering.
• Warning signs of frostnip are pain and redness. Warning signs of frostbite include gray, white or yellow skin discoloration. Frostbite and hypothermia are serious, if either of these conditions are present, seek medical attention immediately.

If it snows and you must shovel, do it properly:
• Shoveling is extremely stressful on the heart, take it slow and lift small amounts only. Use proper posture to prevent back strain: keep your back straight, and lift gently from the knees and hips.
• Take frequent breaks. Stop if you feel pain or become short of breath.
• Prevent ice from forming by spreading ice melt when a storm begins, and reapply it again later. Ice melters are more effective than sand or kitty litter.

Stay safe, stay informed and expect transit delays:
• Watch and listen to local news reports to stay on top of the latest weather information.
• Find warming centers by calling 311 or visit
• Never use the stove or oven to heat a home.

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