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FOX Medical Team

Tips to protect yourself from the cold

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ATLANTA -

With temperatures expected to drop to the single digits early Tuesday, it's important to dress to protect yourself from the cold.

In Emory University Midtown Hospital's emergency department, associate professor of emergency medicine Dr. Bryan McNally says you need to take this kind of cold seriously.

"So, try to limit your time outdoors, If you have to work outside, obviously dress appropriately and try to minimize your heat loss," McNally said.

McNally says Emory Midtown's emergency room has already treated at least one patient with frostbite, several more with mild hypothermia, or low body temperatures. That's the main danger right now.

"Early signs of hypothermia would be feeling cold, starting to shiver, your respiratory rate may increase, initially your heart rate may increase," McNally said.

As hypothermia becomes more severe and sets in, people may become sluggish and confused, slur their speech, and can even slip into a coma in extreme cases.

McNally, who has a undergrad degree in meteorology, says it's not just the cold we have to worry about, it's the wind, drawing heat away from the body,

"The temperatures we experience today, as well as tomorrow would be in the ‘danger' zone if you're out for a prolonged long period of time, particularly if you're not covered up," McNally said.

McNally says protect as much of your skin as possible recommends dressing in three layers: an inner layer to wick moisture from your skin, a middle layer to insulate your body, and an outer layer to protect against the cold. And don't forget gloves and a hat.  

"Hats are pretty important, I believe you can lose up to about 50 percent of your heat from your head," McNally said.

With the high winds, it's possible to develop frostbite;  your fingers, toes, and ears and nose are most vulnerable.

"Early signs may be feeling a tingling, pain, numbness may develop, the skin color may change to pale, and then waxy in appearance," McNally said.

Dr. McNally says now is a good time to check on your neighbors --especially the elderly.

Bring your pets indoors out of the cold and stay inside as much as you can.

The FOX Medical Team's Beth Galvin has a report on how to dress for the extreme cold weather!

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