Extremely cold temperatures are expected over the next several days in the St. Louis metropolitan area. The National Weather Service in St. Louis is predicting dangerously cold wind chills of 15 to 20 degrees below zero during this time.
Extreme low temperatures can be dangerous to people, and individuals should avoid exposure to low temperatures for extended periods, especially at-risk populations, such as the elderly, those with functional needs, people with pre-existing health conditions, and small children.
“During this extremely cold weather do not ignore signs and symptoms of hypothermia which include shivering, nausea, shallow breathing, and drowsiness. These are key signs the body is losing heat,” said Dr. Fredrick Echols, director of health for the City of St. Louis Department of Health. “Continued shivering is a message from the body to go indoors, or if indoors, to a warmer place.”
The City of St. Louis Department of Health is advising residents to remember the following tips to stay safe during extremely cold temperatures:
- Dress in layers, both inside and outside
- Wear a hat and gloves, and try to have as little exposed skin as possible
- Know the signs of hypothermia and frostbite
- Use caution when walking outdoors to avoid slipping on snow and ice
- Keep homes at a minimum of 60 degrees
- Avoid using alternative heating sources because of the risk of fire and carbon monoxide
- Be sure to check on elderly neighbors, or anyone else you know who may be in need of assistance
Heat-Up St. Louis is helping area seniors and the disabled with their winter heating bills. Please visit www.HeatUpStLouis.org for eligibility guidelines and other details.
For information on warming sites, you can contact the United Way of Greater St. Louis Information Referral line at 1-800-427-4626 or dial 2-1-1.
City of St. Louis Department of Health’s Animal Control Shelter (AC) also urges residents to consider the safety of pets during cold weather. Extreme low temperatures are also dangerous to companion animals, such as dogs and cats, and pets should not be exposed to these temperatures for extended periods.
If kept outdoors, animals are required to have access to adequate shelter, food, and water. AC encourages citizens to be especially mindful of their pet's water source, as water will freeze in these temperatures. Sufficient shelter is defined as a cover or protection from the elements containing adequate and appropriate bedding such as straw, hay, or wood shavings, which is small enough to allow the dog or cat to retain its body heat but is large enough to allow the animal to stand, turn around, and lie down.
Failure to provide proper shelter and care for companion animals in extreme temperatures could be prosecuted as cruelty to animals.
Department of Health
Immunizations and Public Health