MIDLAND - Stephanie Mills spoke with Dr. Sudip Bose about surviving the winter conditions of West Texas.
What do people need to know as the conditions in West Texas become freezing, temperatures, snow, ice, anything of that sort?
Dr. Bose said, "I'm originally from Chicago and we hear of polar vortex, we're ready for the cold but we have to remember that even in the southern states, Texas included, it can get pretty cold in the winter. The name of the game is preparation in West Texas. Especially the people working outside a lot, the oil field workers and other people that work outside. So what I'd like to say is be prepared."
In that kind of situation, what do people do to be prepare if they find themselves in a situation with their car breaking down or they find themselves outside in the cold.
Dr. Bose said, "Fair question, what we need to do is be ready for it. Have certain things in the car: a shovel, a windshield scraper, things like that, so if you have snow you're not using your bare hands to get the snow off. Car emits carbon monoxide so for those of you out there don't get that tailpipe blocked with snow and have the engine running. And if your car does break down, it's advised you should not wander away from your car because staying in that car protects you from the elements."
A lot of people who are new here to West Texas, don't really know the conditions or what we experience here in west texas for winter. What would you say for those who have to work outside in the oil field? How do they prepare themselves?
Dr. Bose said, "Now that you work outside, there are certain things you have to remember to prevent a cold injury and you do that with a "COLD". First, you want to Cover, the C is for Cover appropriately. That doesn't mean always covering up to the level of the temperature. Dress 20 degrees off and get ready to heat up. That way you don't sweat too much because then the sweat will chill on you and you'll get cold from that. The O is Overexposure, avoid that. Especially, really cold temperatures, avoid being Overexposed to elements. And Layer up, that's the L. and the D is stay Dry. There are certain demographics that are more susceptible to cold injury. The elderly patients, babies, they are more susceptible. They can't regulate their temperature quite as well. That would be a group to be a little more cautious. In addition to that, unfortunately, a lot of people think alcohol will warm you up if your cold. What actually happens is all the blood vessels far away from your heart they actually constrict. That is so the core warmth can stay in the center of your body. When you drink alcohol it dilates those vessels and you lose more warm from your heart even though it feels warm going down. And then the other thing I'd add is remember frost bite. The areas far from your heart: your nose, hands, feet; if they start getting cold and numb that is a sign you may be headed towards frost bite. That's time to get away from cold and start warming up."
Being able to have the those gloves, have those masks if you need it, or the right kind of shoes. Just being able to fully protect yourself when you're out in the cold.