ITHACA, N.Y. — The Tompkins County Department of Emergency Response (DOER) has issued a reminder of signs of hypothermia and frostbite as unseasonably cold weather moves into the region this week.

As our own Brian Crandall pointed out on Sunday, meteorologists are anticipating a blast of cold Arctic air moving through our region this week, bringing with it the possibility of near-record cold temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Both the high and low temperatures will be more typical of January, according to the National Weather Service, with readings at least 10 to 15 degrees below normal for November,” said Tompkins DOER in a press release Tuesday. “Residents should take precautions to protect themselves from cold-related emergencies like frostbite and hypothermia.”

Hypothermia is an abnormally low body temperature and signs include shivering, exhaustion, confusion, loss of coordination, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness.

Frostbite is when a specific body part such as fingers, toes, the nose or earlobes — freeze. Signs of frostbite include a lack of feeling in the affected area, waxy skins,  cold to the touch or is discolored (flushed, white or gray, yellow or blue).

The American Red Cross recommends the following safety tips in extremely cold weather:

  • Be aware of the wind chill. Dress appropriately and avoid staying in the cold too long. Wear a hat and gloves when appropriate with layers of clothing. Avoid unnecessary exposure.
  • Drink plenty of warm fluids or warm water but avoid caffeine and alcohol. Stay active to maintain body heat.
  • Take frequent breaks from the cold.
  • Get out of the cold immediately if the signs of hypothermia or frostbite appear.