Rhode Island Issues Extreme Cold Advisory

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The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) and the Department of Elderly Affairs (DEA) are issuing a joint advisory to remind people of precautions to take in extreme cold. Frigid temperatures are predicted to start soon and continue through the holiday weekend, so it is especially important that all Rhode Islanders take the following precautions:

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1. Check on elderly family, friends and neighbors frequently. The elderly are especially susceptible to extremely cold temperatures. 2. Watch for ice that can cause falls and leave you unable to get back inside. 3. Indoor temperatures should be set according to activity level, health and medications. A safe, fuel-saving temperature for a young, active family may be dangerous for an older person who has trouble moving or is taking certain medications. 4. Wear a coat, hat, scarf and gloves even for a short walk to a mailbox. A fall or a locked door can leave you exposed to extreme cold. 5. Dress warmly if you are inside, especially if you are not physically active. 6. Avoid drinking alcohol as it can lower the body’s ability to keep warm. 7. If someone has been exposed to extreme cold and is showing signs of hypothermia (confusion, trouble walking, shivering) call 911 right away. Cover the person with a warm blanket. Do not rub the person’s arms or legs.

“Exposure to lower-than-normal temperatures for even a short time can be dangerous,” said Director of Health David R. Gifford, MD, MPH. “It is important that we all use caution during extreme cold, and as a community, be particularly aware of those who are most at risk.”

“We want to ensure that all elders are safe in their community during the upcoming cold weather,” said Director of Elderly Affairs Corinne Calise Russo. “Anyone who has elderly friends, family or neighbors should make a plan to call and check in with them on a regular basis throughout the weekend.”

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