Michiana prepares for 'deep freeze' as cold temperatures settle in

By: Brandon Lewis Email
By: Brandon Lewis Email

Temperatures with the wind chill dipped to negative seven degrees Friday.

"It's cold up here to me. I'm sick of the snow," said Chicago-resident Mike Webbers while walking near downtown.

His sentiment was shared by many Thursday night as temperatures dropped, but some declared it just a typical winter.

"Seems like it was that way last year and the year before though. This is nothing new," said Jim Vega.

Many concluded they were ready for sub-zero temperatures to end.

"It is so cold out here, I'm just ready for spring time," said Ron Bright.

The St. Joseph County Health Department issued a public advisory Thursday to prepare homes for extreme cold and stay warm.

Emergency rooms were also preparing for cases of frostbite and hypothermia.

"You can try and treat it at home, get warmed up. Luke warm bath would be important, not too hot water and then if you're still having problems come on in to the emergency department. If it's been going on for more than a few hours I would recommend you come in immediately," said Dr. Jeff Shellenberger, Emergency Medicine Attendee at St. Joseph Regional Medical Center.

So far, Dr. Shellenberger said he hasn't seen any cases of frostbite and hypothermia, but temperatures haven't neared zero during this winter season.

"I believe exposure control is the most important thing, just covering up with hat and gloves and warm socks," said Dr. Shellenberger.

The St. Joseph County Health Department encourages everyone to prepare for cold temperatures by keeping extra blankets, flashlights, matches, a first aid kit, manual can opener, snow shovel and rock salt on hand.

Also, keep an eye on temperatures inside the home. Infants and those over the age of 65 have a harder time regulating their body temperature and are more susceptible to the cold. Pets should also be brought indoors.

Avoid alcoholic beverages to stay warm because the alcohol causes blood vessels to dilate and can lower your body temperature in the cold.

The health department suggests if you use space heaters, keep a dry-chemical, multi-purpose fire extinguisher nearby. Never use charcoal or gas grills indoors because the fumes can be deadly.

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