This is from the National Institute of Health Website:
Warning signs of hypothermia
Sometimes it is hard to tell if a person has hypothermia. Look for clues. Is the house very cold? Is the person not dressed for cold weather? Is the person speaking slower than normal and having trouble keeping his or her balance?
Watch for the signs of hypothermia in yourself, too. You might become confused if your body temperature gets very low. Talk to your family and friends about the warning signs so they can look out for you.
Early signs of hypothermia:
- cold feet and hands
- puffy or swollen face
- pale skin
- shivering (in some cases the person with hypothermia does not shiver)
- slower than normal speech or slurring words
- acting sleepy
- being angry or confused
Later signs of hypothermia:
- moving slowly, trouble walking, or being clumsy
- stiff and jerky arm or leg movements
- slow heartbeat
- slow, shallow breathing
- blacking out or losing consciousness
What are we doing to meet the needs of homeless people in the extreme cold?
- Shelters are not supposed to close during the day during extreme weather. People are allowed to stay inside during the day so they do not have to brave the cold to get to the drop in centers. (Most days many have to leave from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. )
- Cleveland shelters never turn people away who ask for shelter. This means that we have to run an overflow system with transportation many nights of the year, but it keeps people safe. It is expensive, and we thank Cuyahoga County taxpayers for this support.
- We have a night time drop in center open on extremely cold nights and every weekend winter night for those who do not like to go to shelter. It is called the Metanoia project and is over at St. Malachi. This is where the outreach teams can drop people when they find people outside after 7 p.m. at night. There is a similar facility on the East Side of Cleveland for single women called Seasons of Hope.
- The City of Cleveland and a few of the suburbs have opened warming centers for anyone (including homeless people) who need to stay outside.
- We have teams of outreach staff outside driving around in vans looking to pick up homeless people and take them inside. Many of these workers have backpacks full of boots, long underwear, gloves and winter socks to give out. These are the donations provided from Community West Foundation Socks Plus Campaign.
- In addition, to the socks and boots, we have used some of the funds to put people up for the last few nights to keep them safe. We have 8 people who need additional help and will not go to shelter that we have taken inside to keep them warm during this extreme weather.
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