SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) — With the combination of freezing temperatures and wind this weekend, experts are warning people about the effects of wind chill, which could drop below zero in the Upstate.
“As we approach the weekend, we anticipate significant cold weather coming through, so that puts folks at risk,” said Dr. Steve Shelton, an emergency medicine physician with Prisma Health.
The wind chill is a measure of what the air temperature feels like when you factor in wind speed.
“What we’re hearing from the weather service is this will be an abnormally cold weekend,” said Doug Bryson, the director of Spartanburg County Emergency Services.
Dr. Shelton said the weather raises concerns about health issues and encourages people to stay inside if they can.
“But if you must, make sure that you provide protection with your clothing. A good hat is recommended so you don’t lose heat through your head, good layers of clothing on your body specifically layers that will combat some of the winds that we expect to see, as well as keep your body dry,” said Shelton.
Dr. Shelton said as temperatures drop, risk factors for frostbite and hypothermia go up. He said children, elderly people, and people with chronic illness are at higher risk too.
“Hypothermia, by definition, is when your body temperature goes below 95 degrees,” said Shelton.
He said symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, loss of coordination, and confusion.
“If you start to see symptoms or feel symptoms, try to make sure you get warm as soon as possible,” said Shelton. “Anyone that’s exposed could see symptoms quickly, we’re talking within minutes of being exposed.”
He also said frostbite can affect parts of your body that are exposed.
“We’ve all experienced some of those times when the skin starts to get a little cool, starts to get tingly, may get some numb feeling, those are all potential signs of frostbite and you should actively try to get to a warm place,” said Shelton.
He said if someone starts to show signs of frostbite or hypothermia, they should find a warm place, remove any wet clothing, and add new layers. If a person’s condition doesn’t improve, he said it’s time to seek medical help.