Cold Weather Related Illness in Tennessee

If cold exposure exceeds the body’s ability to warm and core body temperature falls, a range of cold-related symptoms and conditions can develop.  The most common cold-related illness is hypothermia. Cold-related symptoms range from shivering to fatigue.  These symptoms are important warning signs as cold stress can lead to harmful endpoints like disorientation, unconsciousness or death.  Frostbite occurs when a part of the body freezes causing loss of feeling.  Frostbite most often affects the nose, ears, checks, chin, fingers or toes.  Tissue damage from frostbite can be permanent.

Any individual regardless of age, sex or health status can develop cold weather related illness if exposed to prolonged cold.  People most likely to be exposed to dangerous cold include those who lack shelter, work outdoors or live in homes with or inadequate heat.  Seniors, infants, people with chronic cardiovascular or lung conditions, people using alcohol or drugs, and people with cognitive impairments or mental health conditions are at increased risk.