Cold truths about hypothermia

111960627Every Minnesotan is familiar with piling on coats, hats, mittens and other clothing to stay protected from the elements during the winter months. Hypothermia — literally meaning “low (body) temperature” —  occurs when too much heat escapes the core of the body and cannot be replaced quickly enough. It can affect someone’s mental and physical abilities and eventually be fatal if not treated. Hypothermia sets in very slowly, so those affected often do not realize they need help or medical attention. 

No one plans to become hypothermic; car trouble, walking home from a party, or a slip and fall on the ice are just a few ways people inadvertently get over-exposed to the harsh cold.

Continue reading “Cold truths about hypothermia”

HCMC participating in winter disaster relief trial

 

iStock_000002984618_MediumHennepin County Medical Center is one of the many participants in a 2016 Winter Cycling Congress exercise demonstrating how bicycles could be used to assist during a disaster, even in winter. And the weather appears to be cooperating.

The disaster scenario takes place on February 3 from 8:30-noon when bicyclists will use the Minneapolis/St. Paul bikeway system and neighborhood streets to complete realistic assignments to test the effectiveness of using bicycles under winter conditions.

“They may be asked to deliver supplies to a specific location or complete other tasks as assigned,” explains emergency physician Dr. John Hick, Medical Director for Emergency Preparedness at HCMC.  “Should there be a disaster that affects traffic, communications or infrastructure downtown, having bicycles navigate alternative routes could prove to be an essential resource to perform emergency and disaster response activities.”

The 2016 Winter Cycling Congress’ Disaster Relief Trial will begin at an Incident Command Center at the Commons Hotel n the U of M campus, which is the venue for the 3-day conference. After signing in, the cyclists will have their bikes checked, attend an orientation, and be grouped into teams. Assignment sheets will be given to each team along with clear directions and timeframes for task completion. In addition to out-of-town conference attendees, HCMC’s Bicycle Security Team and volunteers, the Minneapolis Bike Coalition, the Minneapolis Fire Department and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board will be participating in the exercise.

For more information or to sign up go to:

Winter Cycling Congress 2016 Minneapolis

Winter Disaster Relief Trials

 

 

Winter weather means outdoor fun — and a reminder about indoor safety

It’s colorless and odorless, and it claims the lives of more than 400 people in the United States every year. It’s carbon monoxide (CO), and it can be found in the exhaust of gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns or by burning charcoal and wood.

Some of the symptoms of CO poisoning include nausea and vomiting, headache, dizziness, fainting and confusion — symptoms that are similar to — and often mistaken for — stomach flu.

“But if there’s a CO source, and others are also feeling ill,  CO should be the first suspect,” explains Dr. Cheryl Adkinson, Medical Director of the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine at HCMC.  “Don’t dismiss the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. You should get medical help right away if you think you’ve been exposed to this deadly gas.”

For those who plan on doing a little fishing once the lakes are frozen, it’s important to know that carbon monoxide poisoning can set in within a few minutes in a small, heated and confined space like an ice house.

Make sure you enjoy the great winter weather — but don’t let carbon monoxide poisoning or any other safety concern get in the way! Visit hcmc.org/outdoors for more information about how to avoid CO poisoning and keep those outdoor activities safe.