The polar vortex has passed, but the regular January temperature still can be hazardous. You can get hypothermia – a drop in body temperature from which the body can’t recover on its own – even if you’re in an insufficiently heated home, says Dr. Lamar Hasbrouck, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “Even if you’re indoors and your temperature is cold, your thermostat is below 65 or 60 and you’re persistent in that state, over a number of days even you can actually have a condition of hypothermia, so it really is about the exposure to the ambient temperature, and your ability to warm yourself and stay warm in those temperatures, so it’s quite a range,” he said.
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Hasbrouck says if someone’s body temperature falls below 95 degrees, that person probably needs medical attention and an external source of heat to get back to normal. Also a worry: Frostbite, which Hasbrouck says can be treated by gradually warming the affected area.