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Schools, Mechanics, Doctors Brace For Freezing Temperatures

6:21 PM, Jan 6, 2014   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, N.C. - With freezing temperatures expected all this week, mechanics, school districts and doctors are getting ready to deal with the ramifications of this weather.

Clark's Tire at Friendly Center has already noticed the cold temperatures driving customers into the doors. Under these conditions, Manager Zeph Smith said it's important to pay attention to your tire pressure and your coolant. Some businesses, like Clark's Tire, will even check and fill your tires free of charge.

Also, check to make sure your car's air conditioner is working. That's right, your air conditioner. "An air conditioner plays a key role in drying the air. Your defroster may get the ice off the outside of your window, but then you have the fog on the inside of your window. The air conditioner actually dries that defrost air to make sure the fog can go away," Smith said.

Some older cars can benefit from being warmed up, but Smith says it's unnecessary for most newer vehicles.

School districts are also keeping an eye on the weather. Guilford County Schools is requiring all of its bus mechanics to come in early on Tuesday morning. The goal is to make sure staff are available to address any problems that may arise.

Transportation Director Jeff Harris said the goal is to start school on time this week. "If we run things normally, pick students up when they're supposed to be picked up, there is less confusion and we don't have to worry about anyone being outside for an extended period of time," Harris said.

In addition, Guilford County Schools will keep heating systems running all night long at every school. Typically, the district turns off the systems at night to save money and energy. However, with these temperatures, administrators don't want to risk any problems getting the boilers going. In some schools, boilers are more than fifty-years-old. If there are any issues, the district will have mechanics ready to respond. Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools is also taking precautions to prepare for the colder temperatures.

Doctors are also preparing to see cold-related injuries. Under these conditions, you can get frostbite in under thirty minutes. If your fingers or face start to feel numb, it's an indication you could be getting frostbite. Many of us rub our hands together to create warmth, but an emergency room doctor at Cone Health's MedCenter in High Point says that's one of the worst things you can do.

"When our tissues are frozen, they have decreased sensation. When you rub them together, they are already much more sensitive to damage. If you rub your hands together, that creates more damage to the tissue. It kills more cells. There's an increased risk of amputation," Doctor John Bednar said.

Doctor Bednar says the best way to treat frostbite is to soak the area in warm, not hot, water. In some cases, Doctor Bednar says it can take up to six weeks to find out if you actually have tissue damage.

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