Due to the National Weather Service’s forecast for low temperatures, the Los Angeles County Health Officer issued a cold weather alert for several parts of the county, according to a press release from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Friday.
“Children, the elderly, and people with disabilities or special medical needs are especially vulnerable during cold weather,” said Muntu Davis, LA County Health Officer. “Extra precaution should be taken to ensure they don’t get too cold when they are outside.”
Wind chill temperatures across LA County are expected to be below 32 degrees Fahrenheit in the following areas:
- Antelope Valley – Dec. 27 to Jan. 3
- Los Angeles County Mountain areas – Dec. 27 to Jan. 3
- East San Fernando Valley – Dec. 28-29
- West San Gabriel Valley – Dec. 29
- East San Gabriel Valley – Dec. 30
To stay protected from the cold, dress in layers of warm clothing before going outdoors, including a hat, scarf, gloves and socks to protect the head, hands and feet. Frequently check with family members in need of help with heat, including seniors or someone who is ill. Do not keep pets outdoors, keep them inside.
“There are places where people can go to stay warm, such as shelters or other public facilities,” Davis said. “We also want to remind people not to use stoves, barbeques or ovens to heat their homes due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.”
For those without access to a heater, indoor public facilities like shopping malls, libraries or senior centers are options to take during peak cold times. This also includes the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which has a Winter Shelter Program. For locations and transportation information, call 2-1-1 or visit lahsa.org.
After prolonged exposure to cold weather, people may experience varying symptoms of hypothermia, with early symptoms like shivering, fatigue, confusion, loss of coordination and disorientation. A person with late symptoms may experience no shivering, blue skin, a slowed pulse and breathing, dilated pupils and loss of consciousness.
People outdoors may also be at risk of frostbite, where feeling and color is lost in the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes. Seek immediate medical care if a person is showing signs of hypothermia or frostbite.
While staying heated, also be sure to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by using approved electric or natural gas heaters and fireplaces. Do not use a stove, barbecue or ovens that release carbon monoxide to heat rooms. Have a carbon monoxide detector installed to reduce the risk of poisoning, which can cause shortness of breath, muscle and joint pain, headaches and nausea. For homes with an outdoor generator, keep it 10 feet away from doors and windows in order to prevent gases from entering the home.
A person or people experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning must go outside for fresh air and taken to an emergency room for immediate medical treatment.
The above information was obtained by The Signal via a press release from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.