NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– This time of year, Yale-New Haven Hospital sees patients with serious cold-related illnesses that can be life-threatening. Dr. Andrew Ulrich Dir. of Emergency Operations with the Yale New Haven Hospital said, “Exposure in this kind of cold even for short periods of time can be very dangerous.”
Dr. Andrew Ulrich said heath risks can happen when your body loses its ability to warm itself.
“Whenever possible, getting out of the cold and getting somewhere warm, even for a short period of time [can help].”
He said hypothermia can happen gradually. “A lot of the symptoms certainly feeling cold and feeling numb and as people start to get more severe hypothermia they become lethargic or unable to make good decisions and their mental status changes,” said Ulrich.
In minutes, frostbite can set in. Both require immediate medical attention.
“When you start to feel your fingers getting numb, your toes getting numb, your ears really starting to hurt it is time to go inside and get warmed up,” Ulrich said.
Ulrich also added that if your hands are cold, don’t put them in hot water because you can’t feel how hot the water is, and you can burn yourself. You also want to warm up gradually. We caught up with people on the New Haven green who keep active to stay warm.
“I got my scarf, got my mittens, got my hot yoga room, my exercise, my beverages,” said Jessica Holland.
“I put on about three layers today, three t-shirts, a couple of long sleeves and an overcoat and a jacket,” said Thomas Dupuis.
Jennifer Maginnis said, “I wear a hat and a big coat.”
Doctors say the elderly and babies are more at risk.