Snow outside of Jerusalem 370.
(photo credit:Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
The caregivers of the elderly and young children must take care to prevent
hypothermia in these days of extreme cold and wetness, Safed’s Ziv Hospital
cautioned on Tuesday.
The elements can bring body temperatures down below
35 degrees Celsius, posing serious health dangers that could even be
The hospital’s emergency room said it was prepared to treat
patients suffering from frostbite and hypothermia. Its supply of warm
intravenous fluids, as well as blankets and heaters, has received a boost. It
urged family members to ensure that the young and old were dressed properly for
weather conditions indoors and outdoors.
Dr. Yulia Waxman, head of the
geriatric department, said the combination of physiological and behavioral
factors makes these age groups very susceptible to harm in the winter.
an elderly person lives alone, one should call him or her frequently to ask if
he or she feels well, is warm, has enough good food to eat and can call for help
The home should be heated to 24 degrees Celsius, and one
should make sure heating devices are safe. Clothing should be comfortable, and
mild exercise is recommended to boost blood circulation.
The elderly and
babies should drink water frequently and consume warm food to preserve body
heat. Also, caregivers should make sure the elderly get influenza and pneumonia
vaccinations. Children from the age of six months should be vaccinated against
Waxman added that the individual’s personal physician should be
consulted about whether the person is taking medications that increase
sensitivity to the cold.
Parents should postpone bringing young children
who do not feel well to visit grandparents and other elderly people until the
children recover, so they do not spread infection.
Esther Imbar, the
chief nurse in Ziv’s pediatric department, said that babies should wear warm
caps as well as layers of light clothing, since their heads emit the most heat.
In addition, parents should not put the baby’s crib next to an exterior wall, if
possible, because that increases the cold. Babies should be put to sleep on
their backs, and they should not be overheated, she said.
Magen David Adom has prepared for coping with the freezing temperatures and snow
in high places.
Dozens of front-wheel-drive vehicles have been prepared,
as have snow chains for ambulances.
Medics and paramedics have reviewed
instructions for dealing with hypothermia and how to get patients to hospitals
rapidly and safely.
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