Arctic air blankets Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Arctic air blankets Iowa


WATERLOO (IDPH News Release) - Dangerous wind chills prompt health warning

Wind chill advisories have been issued for much of the state as bitterly cold temperatures invade Iowa. According to the National Weather Service, temperatures will remain in the single digits and wind chills will dip to the 30 below zero range overnight. Iowans should be aware of the dangers of frostbite and hypothermia during such severely cold conditions.

When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body's stored energy, resulting in hypothermia, or low body temperature. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to speak clearly or move well.

Frostbite is an injury to the body caused by freezing. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Severe cases of frostbite can lead to amputation.

Iowa Department of Public Health Director Tom Newton says Iowans can do several things to protect themselves against hypothermia and frostbite. "First off, don't go outside if you don't have to," said Newton. "If you do go outdoors, dress warmly and stay dry. Wear a hat and a scarf to cover your face and mouth. Choose mittens over gloves because mittens keep your hands warmer. Also, be sure to check on your elderly neighbors to make sure they're safe and warm." Children and the elderly are especially susceptible to the dangers of extreme cold.

Other ways Iowans can protect themselves against hypothermia and frostbite:

  • Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing.
  • If traveling, let someone know your destination and when you expect to arrive. Check and restock the winter emergency supplies in your car, including additional warm clothing and a blanket.
  • If you become stranded while traveling, stay in your car, stay awake, and use blankets and extra clothing for warmth.
  • Avoid exertion because cold weather puts an extra strain on the heart.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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