Winter cold as dangerous as summer heat-Philadelphia news

January 14, 2009 6:33:40 PM PST
It may not be as cold here as in the Midwest. But health experts say it can be just as dangerous to your body. And with the thermometer headed down, the danger will rise.

Just as with summer heat, the very young, and the very old are the most vulnerable to cold's effects. They may not realize they are getting too cold.

Doctors recommend only staying outside for short periods of time.

And cover as much skin as possible -

Your hands, face, ears, and feet feel the effects first.

Dr. Jason Thieling, of Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, says don't overlook signs of frostbite.

Dr. Thieling told us, "Your hands have turned color, your skin has turned color, and when you start to re-warm it, it doesn't go back to its normal color easily, a lot of people don't realize it, because they're inside."

He says those are signs to get to the doctor.

And anyone with heart problems should stay indoors as much as possible.

"One of the biggest things the cold in the body core can cause is a problem with the heart - arrhythmia, disrhythmias, that sort of thing," says Dr. Thieling.

You should call for help for anyone who can't stop shivering...

is drowsy...

is confused...

has pale and cold skin

or loses coordination.

Those are signs of severe hypothermia - when the body loses more heat than it can generate.