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Staying safe in the bitter cold

HARTFORD - Connecticut residents across the state are enduring freezing temperatures and brutal cold.

FOX61 spoke to a local physician about a few things parents should be aware of when sending their kids back to school this week.

St. Francis Hospital Chairman Dr. C. Steven Wolf, advised parents to be on the lookout for hypothermia while children travel to and from school in frigid temperatures.

"Especially with young kids, the parents should be out there with them, it’s not going to take long for them to get really cold and hypothermic,” Dr. Wolf said.

Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposure to very cold temperatures, which can gradually affect an individual. When exposed to cold temperatures your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced making the individual unable to move or think clearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“You kind of start to shiver but then with time your mental status starts to get foggy, you start to get confused and a lot of the functions, like staying warm and shivering start to diminish,” Dr. Wolf said.

In addition to hypothermia, homeowners suffering from a power outage should be aware of equipment that can potentially cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

Dr. Wolf has seen patients suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning from putting grills, lanterns or other combustible equipment into their homes.

If using a power generator, homeowners should be advised to place the machine roughly 20 to 25 feet away from the house.

It’s also important to check on elderly neighbors or relatives to make sure they’re safe during winter storms.

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