Weather had Tecumseh area in deep freeze

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A light snow on Friday morning, Jan. 25, prompted Tecumseh resident Emily Massey to throw on some layers of clothing, including her bathrobe, and sneak outside for a few minutes to do some shoveling. Fluctuating temperatures are expected to rise again next week to 40 or 50 degrees. Photo by Mickey Alvarado.

The frigid temperatures this past week, which included wind chills below zero, have found residents bundling up tighter than usual. Tecumseh temperatures included a zero degree day on Monday, Jan. 21, and a -1 degree day on Tuesday, Jan. 22, according to records kept by the Tecumseh Wastewater Treatment Plant. Functioning in a deep-freeze atmosphere can be especially difficult for workers who must labor outdoors, but anyone who must go outdoors should take precautions to avoid frostbite.

Frostbite happens when the skin gets exposed to extreme cold, and can cause damage to underlying blood vessels. Ears, noses, hands and feet are particularly susceptible. Another danger is that frostbite can sometimes be accompanied by a life-threatening drop in internal body temperature known as hypothermia, which requires treatment.

Anyone who believes they have been frostbitten should seek immediate medical attention.

Symptoms can include: progressive numbness and a loss of sensitivity to touch; tingling or burning sensation; and change in the color of skin, which first may blanch then appear red or even white-purple if it has frozen. Frostbite typically affects the tip of the nose, ear lobes and rim, fingertips and toes.

At the first signs of frostbite, a person should come out of the cold immediately, remove any wet clothing, and rewarm the affected area as rapidly as possible, but should not rub the skin in an effort to get blood flowing as it causes friction and could destroy damaged skin and tissue. Instead the affected area should be soaked in warm water for a period of time, which is likely to be painful, but will cause blood vessels to dilate and circulation to return to the areas. Medical attention may be warranted and should not be discounted.

To help prevent frostbite, a website called “Health Scout” (www.healthscout.com) recommends applying skin moisturizer to the face, hands and other exposed body parts before going out into the cold. Heavy mittens are better than gloves for staying warm in cold temperatures, and face masks should be available for extra protection in the cold and wind. Those headed outdoors should also dress in layers for better insulation.

Children who must be outdoors should wear proper warm clothing and be watched closely for areas that might be exposed, even briefly, to the bitter cold. And don’t forget the pets. If the temperatures are reaching dangerously cold levels for people, they can likely affect pets as well.




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