Brutal wind and cold temps create dangerous conditions - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Brutal wind and cold temps create dangerous conditions

Folks in Downtown Sioux City protect themselves from the brutal cold. Folks in Downtown Sioux City protect themselves from the brutal cold.

Wednesday night's wind chill values could be downright dangerous.  It's common knowledge that the lower the number on the thermometer, the colder it is.

But often, wind can make it feel much worse.  This "feels like" temperature is called a wind chill.

"More the wind blows, the more of that heat that's on the surface of our skin gets blown away," said Dr. Larry Sellers, Mercy Internal Medicine & Pediatrics.

If you're unprepared, sub-zero wind chills can put you in a dangerous situation.

And could lead to injury, including hypothermia.

"At zero degrees, you can freeze skin in about an hour. But if you have more wind, say you have a comparison between a ten mile an hour wind and a twenty mile an hour wind at zero degrees, the length of time it takes to freeze the skin is cut in half," said Dr. Sellers.

Hypothermia sets in when your body temperature falls below about 95 degrees.

Common symptoms include uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, and incoherence.

Once you recognize it, doctors say it's important to take action.

"Avoid cigarette smoking, avoid alcohol, warm the affected area in the appropriate environment, and avoid rubbing," said Dr. Sellers.

A scary situation that could be avoided altogether by taking various steps, including dressing in layers and covering exposed skin.

But above all, Dr. Sellers says it's best to just avoid the outdoors as much as possible.

"Avoiding long periods of time when they're in the cold and the wind is the best preventative measure," said Dr. Sellers.

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