Emergency rooms not as busy during freeze

By Rebecca Barry - Meteorologist, Christopher Yazbec

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Temperatures dipped down into the low 20s Tuesday morning, and another 12 hours of sub freezing temperatures are anticipated Tuesday evening.

With such unusually cold weather, local emergency departments are ready for the affects of the chilly weather.

"People who don't have a way to stay warm may find their way into here to stay warm," said Dr. Faheem Gurgis, of UF Health Emergency Medicine.

"We actually see a lull in visits because people hunker down in the cold and aren't out riding their bikes and doing things they may normally do to injure themselves," said Darin Roark, administrator at Baptist Clay Medical Campus. "But as soon as in warms up, we will see an influx as they rebound. Also, we see a high number of people with respiratory sensitivities with the change in weather."

So far, local hospitals aren't seeing many cold weather-related visits, but because there's only been one freezing night so far, with the chilly temperatures coming through the winter months, that may be an issue.

"It's kind of early. I think we've only had one cold night," Gurgis said. "Hopefully we won't see much more, but so far, not many weather-related visits to the ED."

With the frigid temperatures forecasted to continue, the experts' best advice is to bundle up.

"Hunker down, stay warm," Roark said. "If you have to go outside, wear the gloves and hats. We Floridians aren't good at being in the cold. We have to take extra precautions to keep our families safe."

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