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Dallas Docs See Uptick In Cold-Related Treatments

By Melissa Newton, CBS 11 News
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Women contend with bitterly cold weather. (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Women contend with bitterly cold weather. (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Doctors at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas say they’ve seen an increase in patients needing treatment for hypothermia and other cold weather related conditions since frigid weather surged into the region last week.

Hypothermia is when your body temperature drops below a normal level,” said Dr. Kenney Weinmeister, a pulmonologist and critical care specialist at Texas Health Dallas. “The colder it is the faster it occurs.”

Symptoms include confusion, fatigue, rapid breathing and shivering. The extreme cold can have dangerous effects on the human body, especially after prolonged exposure, Weinmeister said.

“Hypothermia can occur in 60 degree weather if you’re not dressed properly,” Weinmeister said.

Frostbite is another common and dangerous problem associated with the cold weather.

“If you begin to feel pain in your fingers and toes you need to get out of that environment,” he said.

Staying indoors, dressing in layers and avoiding prolonged exposure to the elements can help prevent it, but Kegan Brown and Agustin Rodriguez don’t have that privilege.

They help to clean and treat the sidewalks for ice and snow in downtown Fort Worth.

“Our fingers are freezing but we got to be out here making it look good,” said Rodriguez. “You can’t even feel your feet out here.

Though they prefer the warm weather, they know how to dress for the extreme cold.

“Layers upon layers, double up on the socks, try to wear the gloves until they get wet, double pants and keep your head warm,” Brown said. “I’ll take 70 degree weather any day.”

The dangers of cold weather don’t seem to matter to Chris King, who wore shorts to work Wednesday despite the wind chills hovering around zero.

“Just doesn’t bother me.” He said. “Just normally wear shorts every day, I put a coat on just to keep my arms warm, but I’m okay.”

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