Health hazards to watch out for as cold weather approaches
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - In Texas, we tend to worry more about heat-related illnesses, but nationally, more people die from the cold.
It is blamed for more than 100,000 deaths in this country every year according to an investigation on climate change in the New York Post. No matter the conditions for extreme weather, a big reason people die is frigid weather sneaks in and homeowners and travelers are not prepared.
Luke Adkins, Shift Chief for Lubbock EMS, says, “The number one thing when traveling is to be prepared. Put gas in your vehicle, fill it up as high as you can. make sure you have blankets, snacks, and medications. But if you don’t have to leave your home, don’t leave your home.”
Adkins was called to an accident on the road while we were there. It wasn’t serious, but it was a good example as to why you should be prepared with those things in your car no matter how far you travel. You never know when you might be stalled on the road for a while, especially now during the mad rush of last-minute Christmas shoppers and temperatures expected to drop as low as 2 degrees by Friday.
Adkins says cold weather in general puts more stress on the body, and the risk is even higher among those taking certain medications. He says, “Anyone who takes anticoagulant medications is at higher risk for hyperthermia.”
The National Institute on Aging warns there are more drugs that can boost the risk of hyperthermia. Certain antidepressants and any medication that could make you sleepy, including over-the-counter cold remedies. Adkins says when you start shivering or notice redness on the fingers or any feeling of numbness, it’s time to seek shelter indoors and rewarm yourself as quickly as possible.
This isn’t to bring down your Christmas spirit, but to make you aware of a timely problem.
A report in the Journal Circulation spells out a terrible risk that comes with the calendar. It says more cardiac deaths occur on December 25th than any other day of the year. The second-highest day is the day after Christmas.
The third highest day is January first. Researchers say winter weather and holiday stress may play a factor.
However, they suggest the biggest reason is that people tend to ignore the warning signs because they don’t want to ruin everyone’s holiday.
Their advice? If you think you may be having a heart attack, your loved ones would rather you seek medical attention than fall victim to the alternative.
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