Cold weather and snow made its’ way back to Mid-Missouri earlier this week and, with its’ return, the Audrain County Health Department (ACHD) wants to remind everyone to stop and prepare before setting foot outside. Temperatures this weekend are forecast to be in the teens for the high and in single digits for the low in Mexico.

“With the extreme temperatures we’ve already seen this week along with the snow, it’s a good reminder that you have to take care of yourself when exposing your body to these conditions,” stated ACHD Administrator Sandra Hewlett in a press release. “It doesn’t take long for a person exposed to these types of conditions to see problems start arising.”

While the sub-zero temperatures are dangerous for anyone that is exposed to them for too long of a period of time, residents need to remember the wind chill can be just as, if not more, dangerous. The area is expected to see wind chill values hovering around and dipping below zero in the coming days as arctic air is being pulled down into the central United States, bringing with it the chance for wind chill values to go well below zero for an extended period of time.

Some tips for managing your risks when you find you have to be out in the frigid air:

Dress in layers. It’s usually easier to lose layers of clothing then add them.

Cover all exposed skin if you are going to be outside for an extended period of time. In sub-zero temperatures and wind chill values below zero, frostbite can set in in as little as 30 minutes.

 

Wear protective, insulated coats, gloves, shoes or boots, scarves and hats. Keep exposure to bare skin at a minimum and only spend as much time as you need to exposed to the frigid air.

Make up an emergency kit for your car. The kit should include: water, a couple of blankets, heat packs for your hands and feet, granola bars or anything with protein in it, emergency roadside flares, a cell phone charger and a flashlight.

If you find you have to work out in the conditions, remember these tips to help ensure you are working safely and securely:

Take breaks frequently and make sure there is a heat source nearby to warm yourself.

Drink plenty of water while you are working. Dehydration does not just occur in hot conditions.

Cover all exposed skin and keep it covered.

Wear the appropriate coverings such as gloves, hoods, hats and scarves. Make sure boots or shoes are insulated.

Make sure your work area is secure from any ice or snow to minimize slipping or falling.

With the expected cold snap to continue through the New Year holiday, Hewlett adds that residents should watch their alcohol intake over the New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“Alcohol actually decreases your core temperature,” says Hewlett. “That can be extremely dangerous as you celebrate the New Year’s holiday. Just remember it is expected to be very cold New Year’s Eve night and early New Year’s Day morning so, please monitor your alcohol intake during your celebrations in order to have a safe and healthy New Year.”

For further tips dealing with cold weather and your health, contact the Audrain County Health Department at 573-581-1332 or go online at www.audraincountyhealth.org.