How to handle exposure to extreme cold

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ARDMORE, OK - Many people in this part of the state don't experience below zero wind chills very often. Experts say it's important to take shelter, and there are places right here in Ardmore that want to make sure everyone has a place to come in and stay out of the cold, especially those with nowhere else to go.

We've all felt the numbing effects the cold weather can have on your body, but Dr. Kevin Reed at Mercy Memorial Hospital says if you're not careful you could run the risk of frostbite.

"You begin to notice your having trouble with your finger tips and feet burning, itching is a very common symptom your getting into problems with excessive cold," Dr. Reed says.

Dr. Reed says wear gloves, cover areas that are most sensitive to cold like your ears and nose, and dress in multiple layers. Also take special precautions if you have to work outside.

"Especially if you're out working in the cold weather you're sweating that moisture is going to magnify an cold that gets to you."

But Dr. Reed says the best way to protect yourself from health risks related to cold is to simply stay indoors.

"The problem is can we get ourselves out of that environment in to a place or put some clothing on or do something to reduce the continuing exposure that drops our body temperature. "

That exposure can be very dangerous, especially for those who do not have a place to stay, out of the cold. The Salvation Army offers a hot meal and a warm bed to anyone in need.

"When it's 40 degrees or less we allow them to come back because we call those freeze nights," Nathan Newell at the Salvation Army says.

The Salvation Army currently has eighteen open beds, and Knewel says their main goal is to make sure no one has to stay out in the cold.

"You hear on the news about people dying of hypothermia or getting frostbite so in this facility they'll be warm they'll be safe."

The Salvation Army says it is open to the public until 9:45 p.m., but suggests going to the police station or the hospital if you find yourself without a place to stay warm after that time.

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