U.S. media reported that during the cold wave in the southern United States, about 70 people in the United States died due to blizzards and low temperatures, including more than 10 in unheated homes, suspected to be hypothermia.
According to the Associated Press, most of the deaths occurred in Texas, such as an 11-year-old boy in Conroe City who died while sleeping at home and two men in Taylor County died at home.
In the past week, rare low temperatures and blizzards have caused widespread water and power outages in Texas.
By the afternoon of the 19th, more than 170,000 households were still out of power across Texas, and more than 14 million people were facing drinking water supply difficulties.
Texas averaged minus 8.5 degrees Celsius on the 15th, which is the third lowest temperature in the state since it was recorded in 1899.
The temperature in Austin, the capital of the state, was even lower that day than some parts of Alaska, which was cold all year round.
Taylor County police officer Ricky Bishop said that some local roads have 120 centimeters of snow and traffic is not smooth.
Residents keep calling the police for help, hoping that the police can help confirm whether a relative and friend is safe in the home where the water and electricity are cut off. “Sometimes, we even receive 10 such calls for help in an hour.”
Matt Zawacki, spokesman for the Texas Fort Worth Medical Emergency Center, said that most of the residents who called emergency calls due to hypothermia recently showed symptoms at home.
On the 17th alone, the emergency center received 77 such help calls, some of whom reported freezing their hands and feet, while others were more seriously frozen.
Zawacki said that some people “tremble uncontrollably” because of the cold for too long, which may be accompanied by a decrease in consciousness, but tremor is the way the body generates heat, so the condition of such patients is not too bad.
Many people have stopped shaking when they arrive at the hospital in ambulance, which means that their situation is “much more dangerous”.
Medical staff warned that if they don’t get treatment for a long time, the brains of frozen people will be affected, it will be more difficult for them to think clearly, and it will be more difficult for them to move physically.
When blood circulation drops to a certain extent, the human heart, brain and other important organs will stop working, eventually leading to death.
Infants, children and the elderly have relatively poor blood circulation and thermoregulation ability, and belong to high-risk groups.
People with heart disease, asthma, emphysema, chronic lung disease and diabetes are also at higher risk, as well as smokers.
Among recent deaths in Texas, several adults died outdoors. It is not clear why they didn’t stay at home.
Robert Glatter, an emergency physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, warned that it is not wise to wear too much clothes and wrap too many blankets, because it can cause the body to sweat too much and lose heat faster.
In addition, when people are unable to use the air conditioner due to power outages, some people need to prevent fire and carbon monoxide poisoning by burning charcoal or firewood at home or heating with propane heaters.