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Cold weather dangers for Illinois workers

Everyone knows that it gets cold during winters in Illinois, especially those residents who must work in the outdoors. In order to ensure one’s safety when working outside, it is important for all Illinois workers to understand the dangers involved in outdoor winter work.

It surprises many to learn that working in extreme weather can cause injury. Like other types of workplace injury, these injuries can take you away from your job, resulting in missed work, lost wages and costly medical expenses. This blog post will describe some of these injuries so that you can know the symptoms and seek medical attention.

— Hypothermia: This condition occurs when a body is unable to produce heat, often after prolonged cold exposure. Shivering, poor coordination, fatigue and confusion are among the early symptoms. Late symptoms are especially dangerous and include lack of shivering, dilated pupils, slow pulse, blue skin and unconsciousness.

— Trench Foot: Mostly associated with constantly wet feet, trench foot can occur at temperatures as high as 60 degrees. Symptoms include skin reddening, cramps and pain, swelling, blisters and even gangrene.

— Frostbite and Chilblains: When areas of the body actually begin to freeze, frostbite occurs and can damage skin tissue permanently. Symptoms of frostbite include tingling, stinging, numbness and dry or waxy skin. Chilblains occurs when the skin is repeatedly exposed to cold weather. Its symptoms include blistering and ulceration, redness, itching and inflammation.

If you suffer any of the injuries discussed above while working, you are probably entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. With these benefits, you can rest assured that your medical expenses will be covered and that missed work will not cause you any further hardships. If you need to learn more about workers’ compensation, an attorney can provide more information.

Source: CDC.gov, “Protecting Yourself from Cold Stress,” accessed Jan. 30, 2017

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