Cold Weather Threats; Doctors Warn of Injuries and Illnesses

Expert Advice on Staying Safe During Cold Front

LUBBOCK,TX - As the cold front moves in, doctors in Lubbock warn residents on the South Plains of injuries and illnesses that can come with it. 

Dr. Ryan Lewis is the CEO and a Physician at Star ER on Indiana. He said there are several illnesses making the rounds. One of the worst is a nasty stomach bug. 

"What we are seeing is nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, some fevers, chills," Dr. Lewis said. "This one seems to be a little bit different in that it has more severe body aches and chills. The good news is it is pretty short lived. It's never any fun for any of us. In fact, I myself recently got over the same bug so I have much more sympathy."
The stomach bug has some similar symptoms to the flu, which makes it harder for doctors to give an exact diagnosis.
"We haven't seen a lot of confirmed cases of the flu yet," Dr. Lewis said. 'But we've seen a lot of flu like symptoms."
Lubbock's rollercoaster weather is also causing an uptick in allergy and asthma issues, coughing, wheezing and upper respiratory problems.  Strep throat is already making an appearance, too. 
"The big take home point with that is good hand washing and contact precautions," Dr. Lewis said. 
Along with illnesses, Dr. Lewis said he sees a lot of weather related injuries. Some of his concerns include burns from folks that might use a space heater or other devices to stay warm. Another concern, carbon monoxide poisoning. His advice, do not use a furnace to heat your home. 
Beyond keeping the home warm, Dr. Lewis encourages everyone to take precautions with their body. 
"You can actually lose a lot of heat through your hands and your head and your feet," Dr. Lewis said. "Good warm gloves, good head covering, and good socks and footwear are essential because you can definitely lose heat. If you think about it the colder that you get, your body starts shunting blood towards your core where all of your organs are. So the first things that your body is going to sacrifice to save heat, is your extremities." 
Kids, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are at the highest risk for cold related injuries because their bodies do not have the ability to self regulate.
"Anytime that there's a cold front coming in we always like to tell people take extra precautions," Dr. Lewis. "Make sure they check on loved ones more." 

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