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How to protect yourself as temps across the state drop below freezing

Extreme Weather

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) —

People all across Connecticut are bracing for the bitter cold forecast that’s set to come for the next few days. It could become dangerous if you have to be out in it, so News 8 spoke with a doctor about the dangers and how you can protect yourself.

The temperatures are forecast to be in the single digits overnight Thursday and remain well below freezing for several days. The state’s Severe Cold Weather Protocol has been activated and warming shelters have been made available for those most vulnerable.

RELATED: List of warming centers across CT

Hamden schools also announced Thursday afternoon that classes going remote Friday due to the frigid temperatures.

RELATED: Warming centers activated in New Haven ahead of frigid temps; COVID regulations changing things up for city’s most vulnerable

Thursday night, Harper Police set up a DUI checkpoint in Hartford and will be working straight through the night in the bitter cold temperatures. Those who have to work outside as temperatures continue to drop into the single digits know it will not take long before they will start to feel the effects. When temperatures are that low, the danger zone for frostbite to exposed skin is about 30 minutes.

“And that is without windchill. With windchill and subzero temperatures, which we will have with the windchill, you’re looking at 15 minutes,” Dr. Howard Selinger of Quinnipiac University School of Medicine explained.

RELATED: Dog found freezing, suffering from frostbite after being abandoned in Branford

The doctor recommends dressing in layers. It’s like a thermostat in your house. You turn it up and down. You do the same with clothing layers. But if you get too hot, remove the layers because overheating can be just as bad as not having enough on.

“The last thing you want to do is overheat in cold temperatures, because if you perspire that evaporative process of the perspiration will create a chilling effect on the body.”

Also, keep in mind your pets out in the backyard, especially short-haired animals. They can’t stay out for very long unless they’re built for it like a husky. Keep an eye on them, and if you see your dog start to shiver you know to bring them in immediately; that’s the first sign they’re getting into the danger zone.

Same goes for children.

“You dress that child in layers,” explained Dr. Selinger. “You cover their head and you visualize, think, ‘which parts of the skin are exposed?’ And if they are, then they need to go indoors.”

If you must work outside in the extremely cold temperatures like first responders and those officers at the Hartford DUI checkpoint, make sure to take breaks from the cold. In Hartford, the officers have a mobile command unit so they can rotate and warm up.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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