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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: January 2, 2014


DOVER (Jan. 2, 2014) - With predictions of temperatures falling into the teens tonight, Delaware's Division of Public Health (DPH) advises that people plan ahead to prevent cold weather-related health problems. Exposure to cold temperatures can cause serious or life-threatening health problems.

Hypothermia can occur in cold weather, especially if a person becomes chilled by rain. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected. Cold weather can put extra strain on the heart, so individuals with heart disease or high blood pressure should follow their doctors' advice about exerting themselves in the cold.

Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation. The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.

The City of Wilmington provides a valuable warning by issuing a Code Purple alert when the wind chill factor or predicted temperature is 15 degrees or colder.


At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin - frostbite may be beginning. Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:

A victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out, because the frozen tissues are numb. If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.

"People traveling or participating in outdoor activities during the holidays should be aware of their personal health limitations and be prepared," said Dr. Dr. Karyl Rattay, DPH director.


When heading out in cold weather, consider the following:

For more information on cold weather and avoiding hypothermia and frostbite, visit: emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/.

Code Purple Locations in New Castle County

On Code Purple nights in Wilmington, Friendship House offers emergency sanctuary to people who are chronically homeless at the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew, 720 N. Orange St. Volunteers provide soup and sandwiches. Friendship House provides hot beverages, paper and cleaning products.

The sanctuary opened today, Jan. 2, at 2:30 p.m. and will close at 8:30 p.m. (when the Salvation Army Code Purple night shelter opens for the night). After 8:30 p.m., those at the sanctuary will go to the Salvation Army shelter, 400 N. Orange St. Men will be provided a cot set-up in the gymnasium, and women will be provided accommodation in the women's shelter. An evening snack and continental breakfast will be served before visitors leave the facility.

On Friday, Friendship House will open the emergency sanctuary at the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew at 5:30 a.m.

For more information about Code Purple nights, call Bill Perkins at 302-559-5716.

On Code Purple nights in Newark, a coalition of 10 Newark faith communities offer emergency sanctuary from dusk to dawn. Eight local churches serve as the host site on a rotating basis. A team of volunteers from local faith communities and community organizations support guests who are homeless in a church common room with access to bathrooms, a light evening meal, hot beverages and blankets. Locations for emergency sanctuary for tonight, Jan. 2, and Friday are:

For more information, please contact the Newark Empowerment Center at 302-544-0165.

Code Purple Locations in Sussex County

Today through Sunday: Epworth United Methodist Church, 19285 Holland Glade Road, Rehoboth Beach. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. daily. For more information, call (302) 227-7743.

Code Purple Locations in Kent County

A Kent County Levy Court spokeswoman said Kent County has no Code Purple shelters at this time.

Lewes-Rehoboth Area Churches (LRAC) is referring people who are homeless to Epworth United Methodist Church in Rehoboth Beach.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.