With temperature expected to plummet below freezing in the Bellaire area over the next few days, county health officials are reminding residents that exposure to the bitter cold can be harmful, and even fatal.
The National Weather Service has issued a hard freeze warning beginning at midnight tonight and extending through 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.
Temperatures are expected to drop to around 27 by daybreak tomorrow morning, rising only into the low 40s on Wednesday and then dropping below freezing again late Wednesday night.
When winter temperatures drop significantly below normal, staying warm and safe can become a challenge for some residents. Some of possible health hazards include:
Hypothermia: When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. A person’s body temperature may drop so low, the brain doesn’t work correctly and may not recognize that something is wrong.
If your temperature is below 95°, the situation is an emergency – get medical attention immediately. Be sure and check on elderly family and friends especially if they live in an isolated area.
Frostbite: Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Seek medical care if you think you have frostbite.
Carbon Monoxide: Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled. When power outages occur during emergencies such as winter storms, the use of alternative sources of fuel or electricity for heating or cooking can cause CO to build up in a home, garage, or camper and to poison the people and animals inside. Never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices inside your home, garage, or camper.
Power Outages: Power outages can lead to food safety problems if power is lost for more than four hours. Discard any potentially hazardous foods such as meats, eggs, dairy products and leftovers that may have exceeded 40 degrees. When in doubt, throw it out.
Don’t underestimate cold weather and dress appropriately when heading outside.
Anyone planning outdoor activities in cold weather should check local weather forecasts.