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Dressing Properly To Fight The Cold

Reported: Jan. 6, 2014 6:21 PM EST
Updated: Jan. 6, 2014 6:28 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kennie Bass) - Charleston Department Store was doing brisk business selling full face-mask toboggans and insulated bib overhauls for Yeager Airport workers and Waste Management employees.

Temperatures below zero can create big problems in a hurry if you aren't properly dressed.

"We're gonna get these toboggans here to cover the face to keep from getting windburns and frostbitten," Chris Keyser who works in Support at Yeager Airport said. "In this kind of weather, I guess we haven't had this since '94, I want to make sure my guys are safe."

The cold weather is more than an inconvenience. Hypothermia is a dangerously low body temperature and is the most common winter weather killer. Frostbite is the freezing of skin and body tissue. Both are very real threats in this weather.

"If you're getting down to the level of -30 degrees in the order of about ten minutes you can get frostbite on exposed skin," Dr. Richard Besser with ABC News said. "But you know, you don't even have to be that cold to get hypothermia."

It's not just people working outside who have to be prepared. Skiers and others enjoying winter sports also must be careful.

"I wear multiple layers and you have like really good pants and stuff that's waterproof because you don't really wanna get wet," Grace Wolpert of Hurricane said.

Gander Mountain is offering sales on its winter gear and portable generators just in case nasty weather creates widespread power problems.

"We have generators available, different wattages, "Derrick Paris with Gander Mountain said. "That would be important for our customers out there, making sure that they know where they can get that. Buddy heaters is another item people are coming in looking for."

If you are outside in the cold, there are some warning signs of hypothermia that you can look out for. They include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. Anyone suffering from hypothermia should be given immediate medical attention. If no help is available, warm liquids, dry clothing and blankets can be used to slowly warm the victim.

Frostbite first affects exposed body tissue where blood circulation may be limited such as your fingers, toes, nose and ears. To minimize frostbite, make sure all body parts are well covered. When frostbite starts, feeling is lost in the affected area and the frozen tissue will take on a white or pale appearance. If you suspect you are experiencing frostbite, hold the frostbitten area closely against warm skin to return blood flow and warmth to the affected area.



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