First Aid for Cold Related Illness By Atlantic/Smith, Cropper & Deeley 1/22/2015 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that around 6,000 Americans lose their lives each year as a result of cold weather. Cold-related injuries and illnesses can afflict a person who has been chilled by low temperatures, brisk winds or wet clothing. Refresh yourself on the first-aid measures to take when a co-worker shows signs of serious cold-related illness. Frostbite When frostbite occurs, there is freezing in the deep layers of the skin and tissue. The skin becomes pale, waxy white, hard and numb. This condition usually affects the fingers, hands, toes, feet, ears and nose. If you suspect that a co-worker has frostbite, you should: Move the person to a warm, dry area and do not leave him or her alone. Remove any wet or tight clothing that may cut off blood flow to the affected area. DO NOT rub the affected skin, as this can cause damage to the skin and tissue. Gently place the affected area in a warm (not hot) water bath. DO NOT pour water directly on the skin. Hypothermia Hypothermia occurs when body temperature drops below 95° F, causing fatigue, drowsiness, uncontrolled shivering, bluish skin, slurred speech, clumsy movements, irritability, and irrational or confused behavior. If you suspect a co-worker is suffering from hypothermia: Move the person to a warm, dry area and do not leave him or her alone. Replace wet clothing with warm, dry clothing or blankets. Have the person drink warm, sweet drinks. DO NOT administer drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Have the person move his or her arms and legs to create muscle heat. Hypothermia and frostbite are serious conditions. Call for medical assistance if you suspect a co-worker is suffering from either illness. Co-workers who are older or have a predisposed health condition such as heart disease, diabetes or hypertension have an increased risk of falling victim to cold-related illnesses. Thanks for reading.