Health risks in extreme cold

The Indiana State Department of Health wants Hoosiers to know about the serious health problems associated with recent low temperatures seen across Michiana.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess told NewsCenter16 about the dangers associated with prolonged exposure to arctic temperatures.

“People just really don't understand what a risk it is,” Dr. VanNess said. “I mean, when it’s minus 30 wind chill or worse, 10 minutes with exposed skin and you could get frostbite.”

VanNess recommends taking your temperature after prolonged exposure. He says anything below 95 degrees is dangerous and that person should seek medical treatment.

“If they start to get persistent shivering for example, they need to get in doors as quickly as they can,” added VanNess.

Long-term smokers might also be particularly vulnerable to the cold.

“Cigarette smoking overtime causes permanent restriction to blood flow and diminished blood flow to the extremities makes those people even more likely to get frostbite,” he said.

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