Warmer weather can still pose health risk

By Eric Beesley

Despite the warm weather over the last few days, winter still has a lot of fight left in it.

College students who tend to cut loose every once in a while are at particular risk of allowing extreme weather to get the best of them.

“A spring thaw like we have recently seen may cause college students to put away their winter gear and forget to practice winter safety,” said Steve Lux, senior health educator for NIU Health Enhancement. “Heat escapes from the top of your head, so use common sense and wear a hat or a scarf when it is needed.”

Students who drink alcohol should be aware that although it may make them feel warmer, alcohol actually pulls heat away from the extremities which makes students more susceptible to frost bite, Lux said.

According to a press release from Topical BioMedics Inc., frostbite, hypothermia and icy walkways are some common winter health hazards that can be prevented with proper preparation.

If you suspect someone of having frostbite or hypothermia, call a doctor and take them inside immediately. It is important to wear layers and overdress as you can always take something off, the release said.

“We have dealt with winter related accidents ranging from frostbite to people slipping on the ice so far this winter,” said Heath Bell, vice president and chief information officer at Kishwaukee Hospital, 1 Kish Hospital Drive.

Weather related injuries have been less prevalent thanks to the preparedness of the community and hard work by the city road crews, Bell said.

Something as simple as shoveling the sidewalk can be dangerous during winter months.

“When I go outside I go all out; wearing boots, mittens, hat and a coat,” said Jonathon McGinley, senior electrical engineering and technology major. “I know that I’ll regret it if I go out in anything less.”