In cold snaps, be mindful of hypothermia, gas poisoning

December 19, 2022

In cold snaps, be mindful of hypothermia, gas poisoning

With below-freezing temperatures forecast this week in western Washington, UW Medicine specialists warn against two threats that accompany frigid weather: hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Dr. Stephen Morris, an emergency medicine physician, says it’s important to recognize common signs of hypothermia

“(When people are) severely hypothermic, they get confused. They're shivering uncontrollably. They can have difficulty walking,” Morris said. “Those are times when you really need to call Medic One and get them down there to help you and get you to the hospital.” 

Dr. Beth Ebel, a pediatrician at Harborview’s Pediatric Clinic and Injury Prevention & Research Center, says using a generator to keep warm if a power outage occurs makes sense — as long as the machine is outside. 

“It’s so dangerous to have an engine in the house running because it produces carbon monoxide (CO), which you don’t smell,” said Ebel. “It makes you sleepy and then it kills you.”  Symptoms of CO poisoning can include severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness and fatigue. 

Download broadcast-ready soundbites with health risks and warnings during stretches of frigid weather. 

Related resources: 

Credit: 
UW Medicine
Category: 
YouTube

Terms of appropriate usage of file downloads

  • News reporters and news organizations may freely republish and distribute videos, still images and audio files produced by UW Medicine and the University of Washington School of Medicine.
  • Works must be attributed/credited appropriately (for example, “UW Medicine” – as denoted in the file) and must not be used for commercial purposes.
  • These visual and audio files may not be used to exploit or misrepresent UW Medicine or the University of Washington.
  • UW Medicine often licenses still images from Thinkstock but cannot grant republishing rights. You may not republish single image files credited to Thinkstock.
  • Logos of UW Medicine and University of Washington Health Sciences schools may not be republished without explicit permission. Contact us by phone or email: 206.543.3620 or mediarelations@uw.edu