Extreme drop in temperatures can potentially be dangerous
COLUMBIA - Plunging temperatures over the next two days have potentially life-threatening effects.
Older people and children have a harder time regulating body temperatures, so hypothermia is a threat. That's when the body drops below 95 degrees, which can cause loss of consciousness, weak pulse, lack of coordination, confusion and memory loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Frostbite is also an issue.
"In extreme cases, it can lead to the skin dying and losing fingers or toes," said Emergency Medical Physician Christopher Sampson. "The other exposed areas that are at risk for frostbite include the nose, ears and tips of your body."
Sampson said, when winds are blowing fast and the wind chill is below zero, frostbite can develop in 10-15 minutes.
He said the first signs of frostbite are numbness and tingling, followed by pain.
"Children may not recognize that if they are outside playing, they may not recognize that they have developed frostbite," Sampson said.
He said the best bet is to stay indoors.
Tiger Tots Preschools Owner Paul Prevo said the weather has been hard on the children in his care.
"Obviously for the last few weeks, it's been very difficult to spend much time outside thanks to the snow, ice and cold," he said. "Kids do get a little bit of cabin fever."
Prevo said they see many different effects of the amount of kids that go to daycare when the temperatures drop.
"A lot of people are wanting to keep their infants and toddlers home," said Prevo. "However we also sometimes do see an increase of our school-agers when the public schools are closed."
Sampson said the best bet for children is to stay indoors and Prevo agrees.
"We want to make sure they still get their exercise and stay inside where it's nice, safe and warm," said Prevo.