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DHSS Press Release

Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date: January 2, 2018


DOVER (Jan. 2, 2018) - The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is reminding residents to prepare both themselves and their animals as temperatures dip dangerously low this week. The National Weather Service is possible snowfall across the state Wednesday night into Thursday and near-record low temperatures with gusty winds Friday and Saturday.


Code Purple overnight shelters are activated across the state for people who are homeless, with additional nights expected through the weekend. Since most Code Purple sites use volunteers to manage operations, the activation and implementation vary by county and site. To be connected to Code Purple resources, call Delaware 2-1-1, search for "Code Purple" on the Delaware 2-1-1 mobile app or on its website at and click on the Code Purple button. Or call the Delaware Housing Alliance's Centralized Intake Line at 302-654-0126, ext. 112.

Hypothermia and Frostbite

Hypothermia is one of the greatest health risks to people in cold and freezing temperatures. Hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature, can occur in cold weather or if a person becomes chilled by rain. Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia especially dangerous, because a person may not know that it's happening and won't be able to do anything about it. Infants and the elderly are particularly at risk, but anyone can be affected.

Prevent problems before they occur:
When heading out in cold weather, remember the following:

Recognize the symptoms of frostbite:
Frostbite, an injury to the body that is caused by freezing, is another significant health risk in cold and freezing temperatures. 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 increases for people with reduced blood circulation and among those who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures. 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.

For more information on cold weather preparation, visit:

Protect your pet during cold weather:
Harsh weather conditions and cold temperatures can also be harmful to your pet. Take steps to keep them warm and healthy this winter:

If you see a pet that has been left outdoors in cold temperatures without proper shelter or protection from the elements, food, or water, report it immediately to the Delaware Animal Services Hotline at 302-255-4646. For more information, visit:

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit

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. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

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.