Written by Michael Dinan
With temperatures dipping below 20 degrees at night, a Winter Storm Watch in effect for southern Westchester throughout the weekend amid snow, sleet and freezing rain, county health officials are warning residents to avoid hypothermia and stay safe.
Check on elderly or infirm neighbors, and infants, seniors and those at risk for hypothermia especially should stay warm, Westchester County Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler said in a press release Friday.
“Accidental hypothermia can occur even with temperatures of 60 to 65 degrees, so I urge residents who have power, especially those households with seniors or infants, to keep their thermostats set at no less than 68 degrees during the daytime,” Amler said.
Amler added: “Warning signs of hypothermia in adults include stumbling, mumbling, fumbling and grumbling, shivering, slurred speech and confusion. Infants with hypothermia may appear sluggish, with very low energy and bright red, cold skin.”
According to the health department, people who spend time outside during cold waves like this should:
- Start with synthetic or silk thermal underwear to wick moisture away.
- Add fleece or wool sweaters or sweatshirts to trap heat and keep cold out.
- Top it off with a waterproof or water-repellent jacket and pants.
- Add gloves, a hat and sturdy shoes or boots with good traction.
- Go indoors when you begin to feel cold.
The health department also advises residents on safe use of alternate heating sources and the dangers of using a generator indoors. The full press release is attached as a PDF.