AG’s Office Warns Of Increased Hypothermia Risk For Vulnerable Vermonters

Staff Writer

MONTPELIER - With extreme cold hitting Vermont, Attorney General T.J. Donovan is warning that older adults and those with chronic medical conditions are especially susceptible to hypothermia. Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in core body temperature. It caused 16 deaths in Vermont last year. The Attorney General’s message comes through his Elder Protection Initiative and the Vulnerable Adult Fatality Review Team.
Warning signs of hypothermia include: slowed or slurred speech; sleepiness or confusion; shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs; poor control over body movements; slow reactions, a weak pulse, or a core body temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
• If you know of an older community member who keeps their home heat temperature low to save on energy costs, inform them of Vermont’s many fuel assistance programs (see next page) and check on them before and during a cold snap.
• Make sure your own home is warm enough. Experts suggest that, for older individuals, the temperature should be set to at least 68 degrees.
• Check with your doctor to see if any prescription or over-the-counter medications you take may increase your risk for hypothermia.
• To stay warm at home, wear long underwear under your clothes, along with socks and slippers. Use a blanket or afghan to keep your legs and shoulders warm and wear a hat or cap indoors.