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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The extreme cold has killed 10 people in Nashville within the last month, and that number could grow.
The Chief Medical Examiner for Nashville told News 2 that 15 people were found dead outside in the cold this year, and they are still investigating 5 of those cases.
To put the number in perspective, Dr. Feng Li says no one died from the cold last winter.
he told News 2 the majority of the people he has examined are homeless, but there are some that aren’t. In those cases, he says the victims were more vulnerable, like the elderly.
“Elderly people their metabolite rate is not as high and they cannot withstand the heat loss to quick, so they are more vulnerable,” he explained.
Hypothermia has two main types of causes; there is exposure to extreme cold, but it may also occur from any condition that decreases heat production or increases heat loss. That’s why Dr. Li says you want to be careful about alcohol consumption.
“For temporary relief it feels warm, but as a result the alcohol will cause the dilatation of the peripheral vascular so vessels dilate so more heat will be lost that will result in loss of heat,” Li said.
Hypothermia due to the extreme cold can affect your body within minutes, depending on the condition of the environment and of the person.
To prevent hypothermia, don’t expose yourself to the colder weather, and if you do, be sure and cover up all exposed areas of your body to prevent further heat loss.
Dr. Li adds that there were 6 heat-related deaths over the summer.