What to Know
Shivering, memory loss and confusion are warning signs of hypothermia, according to the Center for Disease Control.
In infants, hypothermia can be identified if they are cold, have bright red skin and low energy.
Older adults, babies, homeless people and those who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs are most at risk.
Frigid temperatures blanketed the region Thursday morning following Wednesday night’s snow squalls that were brought upon us by the polar vortex.
Temperatures dropped to single digits in the Greater Boston area, but the wind chill factor made temps feel up to 20 degrees below freezing. This kind of cold weather is dangerous and experts are advising everyone to stay safe.
Dr. Marc Restuccia of UMass Memorial Health Center says it’s important to bundle up, limit time outside and to stay hydrated. Most of all, he urges everyone to recognize the signs of hypothermia.
"When you stop feeling cold or you feel confused, that’s a pretty bad sign," he said.
Resuccia says when your fingers, toes or nose get numb, it’s best to head indoors.
"If you do get frostbite, let your fingers or toes warm completely," he said. "The worst thing you can do is start to warm up and then go out and freeze them again."
The Centers for Disease Control says under hypothermia, the human body loses heat faster than it can be produced. Warning signs of hypothermia in adults include shivering, fumbling hands, slurred speech, exhaustion and memory loss.
Infants affected by hypothermia tend to have low energy and cold, bright red skin, according to the CDC. Older adults, babies, homeless people and those who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs are most at risk, the CDC says.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh advised residents to refrain from using a charcoal or gas grill in an attempt to heat up a home since it can produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide and is considered a fire hazard.
He also asked residents to check in on elderly neighbors or those with disabilities.
Walsh posted information on resources for homeless people caught in the frigid temps.
The unforgiving polar vortex made Chicago feel colder than Alaska and Siberia on Wednesday and prompted governors from Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin to declare states of emergencies.
The cold weather impacted riders on the MBTA where it was a tough way to start Thursday morning with temperatures hovering near zero at Quincy Center Station.
"It’s just hard to believe that a place where you've lived your whole life, all the sudden you’re in temperatures that are threatening to human life," said commuter Bill McNeil, of Brockton.
The cold temperatures impacted MBTA service for a short time. One passenger tweeted out a picture from Central Square Station in Cambridge at about 7 a.m. after a Red Line train was taken out of service for 30 minutes. Regular MBTA riders like Franz Pierre said they know to give themselves extra time when the weather turns bad.
"Usually the train will take 30 minutes to get where I'm going. Since it's cold like that you have to anticipate it’s going to be late," said Pierre.
There were some mechanical hiccups on the Commuter Rail out of Worcester as well as the Orange Line. Surprisingly, not everyone NBC10 Boston spoke with was put off by the prospect of having to take subway or the commuter rail during the winter months, despite all of the well-documented horror stories of winters past.
"I personally feel kind of up to challenge for the cold weather commute. I feel like it's all about having the right gear in the right coat," said commuter Gail Ader.
If you or someone you know shows any signs of hypothermia, contact a healthcare provider or 911 if the symptoms are severe.