Winter's First Hypothermia Death; MD Officials Urge Caution
State officials released tips for avoiding cold-related illnesses, following a hypothermia-related death in Frederick County earlier this month.
State health officials on Thursday confirmed Maryland's first hypothermia-related death of the winter, and took the opportunity to remind residents how to protect themselves.
State officials said the death of a Frederick County man aged 65 or older was confirmed sometime between Dec. 18 and 24. The release said no further information on the man would be released for privacy reasons.
By this time in 2011, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in the Thursday release from state officials, Maryland had recorded one hypothermia-related death, and 15 for all of last winter.
Though hypothermia is commonly associated with cold weather, it actually occurs when the body's temperature drops below 95 degrees. Frostbite occurs when body tissue freezes. State officials say extremities, as well as cheeks, ears and the tip of the nose, are most vulnerable. Anyone with circulation issues, as well as the elderly and very young, are most at risk for frostbite, according to state officials.
Here are tips for avoiding hypothermia and frostbite, via a state press release sent Thursday. For more, state officials directed readers to a page on the Department of Health and Mental Hygeine's website.
- Cover your head. You lose as much as 50 percent of your body heat through your head.
- Wear several layers of lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. The air between the layers acts as insulation to keep you warmer.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect lungs from direct cold air, and also cover your ears and the lower part of your face.
- Wear mittens, not gloves. The close contact of fingers helps to keep your hands warm.
- Wear warm leg coverings and heavy socks, or two pairs of lightweight socks.
- Wear waterproof boots or sturdy shoes to keep your feet warm and dry
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The original version of this article misstated the total hypothermia-related deaths for the 2011-2012 winter season. Patch regrets the error.