Extreme temperatures can be particularly hazardous for children, the elderly and those with special needs and pets. To protect yourself, your family and your neighbors, please familiarize yourself with the following terms and symptoms.
Stay safe this winter by learning more about hypothermia and frostbite, and carbon monoxide poisoning including who is most at risk, signs and symptoms, and what to do if someone develops these conditions. In cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced, which can lead to serious health problems. When the weather is extremely cold, try to stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress properly. If you believe someone is having a medical emergency call 911 or call a medical professional.
- Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing
- Wear mittens instead of gloves
- Wear water-repellent clothing
- Wear a hat
- Make sure small children, infants and the elderly stay warm. They are much more vulnerable to the cold weather.
- Take advantage of public libraries, and heated stores and malls.
- Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages
- Drive with care and plan your trip. If cold, snowy or icy conditions exceed your ability or your car's ability, don't travel.
Safe Heating Tips
- If your heat does not work or you have no heat contact your building owner.
- Electric heaters can be hazardous and should be used with extreme caution to prevent shock, fire and burns. Follow the usage instructions carefully and keep clothing and blankets clear of any heating elements.
- Be very careful in using fireplaces, making sure flues are clear. Proper ventilation is essential and charcoal should not be used.
- Gas ovens and burners should never be used to heat your home.
- Learn about PG&E's safety action center
For more information and resources, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Winter Weather site.
What to do if someone has hypothermia, frostbite or carbon monoxide poisoning?
- If a person’s temperature is below 95°, get medical attention immediately.
- Get the individual into a warm room or shelter.
- Remove any wet clothing.
- Warm the center of the body first (chest, neck, head and groin) using an electric blanket, if available, or skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets.
- Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature (only if person is conscious), but no alcohol!.
- Continue to keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket even after body temperature increases.
- Get into a warm room as soon as possible.
- Immerse the affected area in warm—not hot—water or warm the affected area using body heat.
- Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it at all (can cause more damage).
- Do not use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming (affected areas are numb and can easily be burned).
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Consult a healthcare professional immediately to administer oxygen.
When temperatures are high, we want everyone to stay cool, hydrated and informed. Although nearly everyone is uncomfortable in high heat, some people are more vulnerable than others. Seniors, people who work or exercise outdoors, infants and children, and people with chronic medical conditions are particularly susceptible. Check frequently on your neighbors if you know they have health concerns. Pet owners are also advised to keep an eye on their companions during these hot days.
- Stay out of the sun, limit outdoor activity and physical exertion
- Seek out air-conditioned buildings
- Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and wide-brimmed hats when outdoors
- Lower body temperature by using cold compresses, misting and taking cool showers, baths or sponge baths.
- Drink plenty of water
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks as these can promote dehydration
- Eat light meals
- Keep your friends, family and neighbors aware of heat safety
- Learn about PG&E's safety action center
Seek Medical Attention for Heat Exhaustion
Be mindful for the following symptoms of heat exhaustion and to seek medical attention for:
- Profuse sweating and muscle cramping
- Body temperature of 105 with hot, dry skin
- Confusion or unconsciousness
Protect Your Pets
Be aware that pets are also vulnerable to high heat. Pet owners are reminded to:
- Never leave pets in a car
- Be alert for any sign of heat stress, including heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting and deep red or purple tongue
- Offer a cool place to rest
- Call animal control or police immediately if you see an animal in distress in a car
- If you think your pet is experiencing heat stress consult a veterinarian immediately for evaluation.
For more information and resources, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Extreme Heat site.