Health workers suggest safe warmth measures through outages

Published: Feb. 18, 2021 at 7:51 PM EST
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ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) - Boyd County Coroner Mark Hammond says he’s never seen storms quite like the three that have hammered the region.

“Power has never been out and the damage that’s been done in this area the way it’s happened in Boyd County right now,” Hammond said.

The last week of storms has now become deadly, with two hypothermia deaths reported in Boyd County.

Responders and health care professionals fear that number could increase, especially if people don’t find warmth safely.

“What a lot of people don’t understand, hypothermia happens over a period of time,” Hammond said. “It doesn’t happen right away. By the time someone is so sick that they need help, the body can’t comprehend that, the mind can’t comprehend that because it’s so cold.”

“The main thing to do is bundle up,” said Dr. Stewart Carraway of King’s Daughters Medical Center. “Wear something over your head, toboggan, hoodie and layer up as best as you can and use blankets.”

Dr. Michele Friday at KDMC says that hypothermia isn’t the only risk. With many using alternative ways to heat their home, carbon monoxide poisoning has also been on the rise.

“This is something, it’s a silent killer,” Friday said. “The gas … it’s odorless and it can kill you in the house.”

No matter what the risks, she says now is the time to keep your friends and family close.

“This is the time to go out and make sure our relatives, our friends, our neighbors, and that person that you’ve never even checked on in the past try to check on them if you have the means,” Friday said.

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