The Fulton County Department of Aging and Youth and the Atlanta/Fulton County Emergency Management Agency (AFCEMA) want seniors to take steps to prevent hypothermia during very cold temperatures.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hypothermia victims are often elderly people with inadequate food, clothing or heating; babies sleeping in cold rooms; people who remain outdoors for long periods, which include the homeless; those who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs; and others who may be outside for extended periods during cold weather.
The CDC says hypothermia can happen when people are exposed to cold temperatures and their bodies begin to lose heat faster than it can be produced. If an individualâ€™s body temperature falls below 95 degrees, the potential victim may not even recognize that hypothermia is occurring because the person may not think clearly or move well.
The CDC adds that prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up the bodyâ€™s stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. A body temperature below 95 degrees affects the brain. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know what is happening. Additionally, the CDC warns that hypothermia can occur even if temperatures are above 40 if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.
Warnings signs of hypothermia in adults other than a body temperature below 95 degrees include:
- shivering, exhaustion
- confusion, fumbling hands
- memory loss, slurred speech
Symptoms in infants include the following:
- bright red, cold skin
- very low energy
The symptoms mentioned above for seniors, infants and other adults require an immediate call for help by calling 911. For more information on how to help hypothermia victims, visit
http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.asp . To find out more about personal safety and preparation for winter weather, visit http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/pdf/extreme-cold-guide.pdf or call AFCEMA at 404-612-5660.
Seniors can also call the Fulton County STARline for referrals or assistance at 404-613-6000
Citizens in need of reasonable accommodations due to a disability, including communications in an alternative format, should contact the Disability Liaison at 404-613-7944. For Georgia Relay Access, dial 711.