LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Red Cross) - Monday is the day most Arkansas students return from holiday break. With the National Weather Service's unusual wind chill warnings and advisories for much of the state through Tuesday, the American Red Cross in Arkansas urges Arkansans to take safety precautions to keep warm.
"While some schools across northern Arkansas have announced closing due to weather tomorrow, thousands of students will find themselves out in the morning in extreme cold as they wait for buses or walk to school," stated American Red Cross in Arkansas Communication Information Officer, Brigette Williams. "Hypothermia is of great concern with early morning wind chill causing temperatures with cold and brisk winds to be in single digits to as low as minus 20 degrees in some areas of the state."
The free American Red Cross First Aid App can provide tips on first recognizing the beginning of hypothermia, as well as initial care. A first step for parents to do for their children, as well as themselves, is to have them dressed warmly and to cover any exposed skin. Additional steps include:
- Dressing in layers; undershirt, sweater or shirt plus coat
- Socks or tights under pants
- Wear gloves or mitten, hat and scarf around
- Keep coats zipped or buttoned until arriving inside of school
- Once in a warm area, remove any wet clothing, such as heavy socks or sweaters for dry items
In addition to watching children, also keep an eye on the elderly who may not be as sensitive to changes in body temperature "It's very important to be aware of when someone may be showing symptoms and in need of help," stated Williams.
Symptoms of hypothermia include:
• Shivering, skin that is pale and cold to touch
• Individuals could be disoriented and too cold to shiver
• Breathing may become slower than usual
• Body temperature is below 95 degrees
If the individual shows symptoms of hypothermia, call 911 as soon as possible, or get someone else to do it. Directions from 911 may include:
• Warming the person slowly by wrapping them in a blanket or layer with towel, sheets
• If conscious, have them sip warm, non-alcoholic drink food
"With temperatures this dangerously low, it is also critical when traveling by car to keep additional blankets in the back seat, as well as bottled water and high energy snack, even if you're just dropping the kids off at school," stated Williams. "Don't travel if at all possible with less than a tank of gas, in case your planned trip takes longer due to road conditions or closures. Keeping your tank at least half filled keeps your fuel line from freezing."
Also, remember to keep your cell phone fully powered before leaving home and take a car charger to stay charged on the road.
For more health related tips download the free Red Cross First Aid app from your Android or iPhone or call **REDCROSS to receive a link to download. For more tips visit redcross.org/arkansas; like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter@RedCrossArkansas
(Source: Red Cross)