The nation is being slammed with a wicked winter, and while temperatures aren't subzero here on the Coast, anyone can still be at serious risk without proper preparation. Dr. Steve Demetropoulous, an Emergency Department Physician at Singing River Hospital, says, "When the cold season hits, the people we think about in terms of the most risk are the very young, the very old, and those with other medical problems." Despite the record cold weather, people dedicated to New Year’s resolutions are pounding the pavement. Beth East, a resident out exercising in the cold, says, "It's absolutely beautiful out here. I couldn't resist." Alexis Smith, another resident braving the cold, says, "I ran the other day. It didn't bother me as much then as it does right now." Kevin Eric Quaroes, another dedicated runner, says, "I'm out here training for a marathon, doing a 14 miler on the beach." While dedication to personal goals is commendable, outside activity is risky. Breathing in dry, cold air can worsen asthma symptoms and trigger attacks, in addition to other severe conditions. Dr. Demetropoulous also says, "We'll see hand and feet injuries like frostbite to the hands and feet or to the face. We actually see hypothermia. We'll be worried about that tonight and for the next couple of nights."
The extremities are not only the most susceptible, but they are also the place where the chill is felt most. Those residents dedicated to their runs on the beach commented about their noses, ears, and faces feeling numb. The cold and wind chill are truly far reaching. To keep you out of harm's way, here are a couple of tips to remember: If you have no need to be outside, stay indoors if you can. Whatever you do, stay dry! If your clothing gets wet, it's imperative that you dry off as soon as possible. Babies, the elderly, and people with pre-existing conditions can lose body warmth quickly. Make sure to bundle up. It's extremely important to keep your body warm, layer your clothing, and make sure your hands, feet, and head are properly protected.