Doctor says frigid cold temperatures could lead to hypothermia indoors

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Western New Yorkers are feeling the effects of frigid cold temperatures.

Western New York could see the wind chill below zero this week and that’s causing concern for area doctors.

Some may be surprised to hear that being outdoors isn’t the most commonplace for hypothermia to happen.

Dr. Ed Cosgrove, Assistant Medical Director of Emergency Department at Buffalo Mercy Hospital told News 4 too many people are under dressed when temperatures dip below zero. He says everyone outside should be covered up with no bare skin showing.

Dr. Cosgrove said people tend to lose a lot of body heat through our head so it’s important to have your head covered with a winter hat, especially the elderly and children.

Any prolonged exposure to the cold could lead to hypothermia.

Signs of hypothermia include really bad chills, changes in mental status, confusion, your body could shut down and your heart could stop beating.

The doctor revealed they are not as worried about people outside, but rather people inside their homes.

“Most people fail to realize that your body temperature is 98.6 degrees, but our rooms at home are never that warm, so if you’re under dressed, for instance, in your pajamas and you have an elderly family member who fell and is on the floor overnight, they can suffer from significant hypothermia and that’s one of the more common types of hypothermia we see, in Buffalo people generally tend to be pretty smart about going outside,” said Dr. Cosgrove.

Doctors also warn about frostbite during frigid cold temperatures, especially for fingers and toes. If severe enough it could lead to amputation.

To avoid both hypothermia and frostbite, you need to stay warm, and also dry.

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