The Dangers of Hypothermia

Men and women who are homeless are vulnerable on the streets in so many ways. They may suffer from untreated medical conditions, hunger, or even become the victims of violence. But the winter months pose yet another risk to the health and well-being of homeless individuals – hypothermia.

With the recent cold front that has descended over much of the U.S., you’ve probably noticed there’s more of a chill in the air than usual. For the past few months across the country, local organizations – Calvary included – have been preparing for the added need for shelter that the winter months bring. In our new building on Good Hope Road we can provide a safe, warm home for more women than ever this winter.

In D.C., from November through the end of March, the city’s “Winter Plan” provides emergency housing to anyone who is in need of shelter when the temperature drops below freezing. Unfortunately, this can lead to overcrowding in emergency shelters if the need grows beyond capacity.

And unfortunately, not everyone in need seeks shelter.  Already this year, more than one life has been lost after being exposed to freezing overnight temperatures.

In fact, one of the dangers of hypothermia is that confusion is often a symptom. That means if someone’s body temperature drops far enough, they may not recognize that they’re suffering from a serious medical condition and will be unable to get themselves help.

If you see someone in need of shelter in cold temperatures, call the D.C. Hypothermia Shelter Hotline at 1-800-535-7252. Your call might save a life.

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