Frostbite and Hypothermia -- Winter Preparedness Tips

According to the National Weather Service, frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately. If you must wait for help, slowly rewarm affected areas. However, if the person is also showing signs of hypothermia, warm the body core before the extremities.

Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. Take your temperature and if it is below 95 degrees, seek medical attention immediately.

Fairfax County’s emergency homeless shelters  have additional capacity during winter months to take in people overnight who are at risk of hypothermia.  If you see an unsheltered person at night who may be at risk of hypothermia, call our non-emergency phone line at 703-691-2131; emergency personnel will determine which shelter option is best in the situation.


More Information

Ready Virginia -- Winter Weather

Listo Virginia -- Winter Weather


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