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Extreme Weather and Health

Extreme weather and conditions such as extreme cold, extreme heat, and poor air quality can impact your health. People with chronic health conditions, older adults, and young children are often most affected. It’s important to stay informed and know what to do to keep yourself and your family healthy and safe.

If you need someplace to go during extreme weather, check our Relief Centers page for options.


Staying Safe in the Cold

It’s important to be prepared for winter weather, with cold temperatures and snow and ice.

Learn more about how to prepare for winter weather:

Extreme Cold: Tips for Health and Safety – CDC

Winter Weather –

When the weather is extremely cold, try to stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress properly and know who is at high risk for hypothermia or frostbite.

When going outside be sure to wear:

a scarf or knit
mask that covers
face & mouth
mittens or gloves
water-resistant boots
a hat
a water-resistant coat
several layers of loose-fitting clothing
When going outside in winter make sure body parts most often affected by frostbite are covered in warm, dry clothing.


Know who is at high risk:

Older adults without proper food, clothing, or heating
People who stay outdoors for long periods (homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.)
People who drink alcohol in excess or use illicit drugs
Babies sleeping in cold rooms

An illustration of someone experiencing frostbite. The text says, “Spot Frostbite: A victim is often unaware of frostbite because frozen tissue is numb. Signs and symptoms: redness or pain in any skin area may be the first sign of frostbite. Other signs include: a white or grayish-yellow skin area; skin that feels unusually firm or waxy; numbness.” Another illustration shows someone experiencing hypothermia. The text says, “Spot Hypothermia: Hypothermia often occurs at very cold temperatures but can occur at cool temperatures (above 40°F), if a person is wet (from rain, sweat or cold water) and becomes chilled. Signs and symptoms for adults: shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech, drowsiness. Signs and symptoms for infants: bright, red, cold skin; very low energy.”

A graphic titled, “Treating Hypothermia & Frostbite” with illustrations showing various steps to take to treat these conditions. The text says, “Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Get them into a warm room or shelter. Remove any wet clothing. Warm them under dry layers of blankets and clothing. Place areas affected by frostbite in warm-to-touch water.”

Remember to heat your home safely and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by installing detectors and following these CDC Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips.

Kepp generators at least 20 feet from homes and garages. Install carbon monoxide detectors.


Staying Safe in the Heat

It’s important to be prepared for extreme heat. Learn more about how to prepare and be safe in extreme heat:

Extreme Heat

Tips for Preventing Heat-Related Illness

Heat Stroke WHAT TO LOOK FOR High body temperature (103°F or higher) Hot, red, dry, or damp skin Fast, strong pulse Headache Dizziness Nausea Confusion Losing consciousness (passing out) WHAT TO DO Call 911 right away-heat stroke is a medical emergency Move the person to a cooler place Help lower the person’s temperature with cool cloths or a cool bath Do not give the person anything to drink Heat Exhaustion WHAT TO LOOK FOR Heavy sweating Cold, pale, and clammy skin Fast, weak pulse Nausea or vomiting Muscle cramps Tiredness or weakness Dizziness Headache Fainting (passing out) WHAT TO DO Move to a cool place Loosen your clothes Put cool, wet cloths on your body or take a cool bath Sip water Get medical help right away if: You are throwing up Your symptoms get worse Your symptoms last longer than 1 hour


Protecting Yourself From Poor Air Quality

Poor air quality, from conditions such as wildfire smoke, ground-level ozone that causes smog, and particle pollution, can affect your health. It can make an make it harder for people with asthma and other respiratory diseases to breathe. It can also impact heart health. 

Air Quality



County residents should be aware of extreme weather hazardous environmental conditions and be prepared for emergencies.

  • Have a kit with a flashlight, radio, water, food, and extra medicine.
  • Be sure you have enough fuel to warm your home.
  • Check on elderly or disabled neighbors.
  • Make plans on where you will go if you lose heat or power.
  • Include pets in your plans.

Power Outages

If your power goes out, report it to your power company.

Never taste food to determine if it is safe to eat. When in doubt, throw it out.
Throw out perishable food in your refrigerator (meat, fish, cut fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, and leftovers) after 4 hours without power or a cold source like dry ice. Throw out any food with an unusual odor, color, or texture.
Check temperatures of food kept in coolers or your refrigerator with an added cold source. Throw out food above 40°
If you have an appliance thermometer in your freezer, check to see if it is still at 40 °F or below.
You can safely refreeze or cook thawed frozen food that still contains ice crystals or is at 40 °F or below.


  • If you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911.
  • If you have a critical need during a community emergency such as a severe storm, call the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) at 888-5 GET-EOC. The EOC is only open during community emergencies.
  • If you have a critical need that is not a life-threatening emergency, call the Emergency Communications Center at 410-386-2260 for assistance.