State agencies issue warnings in light of bitter cold

MADISON, Wis. (READY WISCONSIN NEWS RELEASE) -– Wisconsin is once again dealing with another blast of arctic air that will continue to cover the state for the next several days. Low wind chill readings of 10 to 35 below zero will be widespread across the state with high temperatures mainly in the single digits to mid-teens. Weather forecasters warn that some record low temperatures could be set this week.

Health Risks – With these bitter temperatures, beware of hypothermia and frostbite.

Frostbite can occur on exposed skin in less than 20 minutes. Symptoms include a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in fingers, toes, ear tips and tip of the nose. Limit your time outside. If you see these signs, seek medical care immediately!

Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness in adults and children. In infants, symptoms can include bright red or cold skin and very low energy. If you notice anyone exhibiting any of the symptoms of hypothermia, seek medical care immediately!

Warming Sites - Several communities have locations where people can go if they don’t have heat. For a list of warming sites near you, visit: WI Department of Health Services Warming Sites.

Emergency Heating Assistance - With the severe cold weather, the Department of Administration is reminding individuals about where to call for emergency heating assistance. Customers that need assistance can contact:

• County Social Service Office or Tribal Government
• Call toll-free 1-866-HEATWIS (432-8947) or visit www.homeenergyplus.wi.gov
• For other local emergency heating resources, call 211.

Carbon Monoxide Danger - Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States. Symptoms of overexposure to carbon monoxide are often mistaken for the flu and include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath/chest pain, nausea/vomiting, and confusion. If you or someone you know experience any of these symptoms, or your carbon monoxide detector sounds an alarm, head outside immediately for fresh air and call 911. To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure all exhaust vents are free from obstructions, never use a gas oven or charcoal grill as a heat source, and make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working. For more information on carbon monoxide visit WI Department of Health Services - Carbon Monoxide

Pet Precautions - While our pets might seem to have built-in, warm winter coats, they too are sensitive to the elements. It is recommended to bring them indoors during this bitter weather. Dogs and cats can get frost bitten ears, nose and feet if left outside during bitter cold weather.

On the road - If you are traveling make sure you have a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. Call 511 or go to www.511wi.gov for the latest road conditions across Wisconsin, and to access regional travel information.


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