The Winter of 2014 will be remembered by our children and grandchildren. We will tell them stories about it and they will see photographs and carry memories of what has happened in the southern United States this year. The many vehicle crashes, stranded citizens, destroyed trees, power loss, kids at home rather than in their classrooms, these will all be remembered and shared for decades to come. The winter is serious. It has now taken lives of two more Georgia residents as we continue to wait out the freezing and dangerous conditions with accidents and injuries on many of our roads and highways over these past couple of weeks.
These conditions are not only dangerous for those attempting to drive in the snow and ice, but also those who are simply walking from one place to another. Although Georgians are not used to such severe weather here, most of us know that being outdoors in severe weather can be very dangerous for such hazards as frostbite. We also need to consider the danger that if something happens while we are outside, our bodies may not respond as they otherwise would in normal temperatures .
Sadly, earlier this week a Butts County man and a Whitfield County woman have lost their lives in situations caused by the winter conditions. Simply intended to walk to a nearby home, one man was found by his wife close to the front porch of their home most likely having died from hypothermia after apparently falling and hitting his head as he spent hours outside in the freezing temperatures. Another tragic incident involved a woman who was inside her home without the benefit of heat during the cold night.
Because we do not normally experience these temperatures in our region, it is critically important that all of us remind ourselves and share with others the hazards of being out in the cold. Remember that the cold is harder on the elderly, children and pets. We need to ensure that our family members are not exposed in a way that lowers body temperature. For example, hypothermia is the lowering of the body’s temperature that can cause confusion, heart problems including a very irregular heart beat. This can be fatal. If you find a family member in this condition it is very important to call emergency support and to try to warm them while you wait for help. Getting a person who is experiencing hypothermia to a warm room with blankets and a warm drink is a good measure.
Kids playing in the snow can be some of the greatest moments of childhood. But kids playing outdoors for long periods of time when the temperature is below freezing can lead to serious injury. Parents need to use caution in these circumstances. Even when they are dressed warmly, kids can get frostbite and other cold weather issues unless they return inside to warm up. Playing in the snow is great, but make sure your kids return inside for warm ups, remind them not to build snow tunnels and have them wear bright clothing so that they can been seen in the snow. Also ensure that kids stay away from heavy trees that might be laden with ice, these can fall and cause serious or fatal injury.
Please take precautions in these treacherous days of winter to avoid injury. Stay off the roads if you don’t need to be traveling and if you do travel and are in a motor vehicle accident you can feel free to contact me for an evaluation of your situation at no cost. Sometimes other drivers speed when conditions require caution and they can be held responsible for your injuries.