Stranded; three hours in a car in frigid temperatures - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Stranded; three hours in a car in frigid temperatures

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For people who spend time outdoors, hypothermia is a very real threat.

Symptoms include shivering, confusion and slurred speech.

It can take just minutes for these symptoms to appear leading to damage like frostbite -- or worst case scenario, death.

Stranded drivers are told to stay in their vehicles because of those reasons -- but even in your car, things can turn deadly.

Tuesday evening, KSFY News Reporter Tess Hedrick learned that lesson firsthand as she spent three hours in a cold car.

"Blood oxygen levels -- we want that to be at 100 so 99 is perfect. I expect everything to rise," said Katie Kruger, Sioux Falls Rural Metro Ambulance Paramedic.

Once KSFY's Tess Hedrick's vital signs were taken, it was time to get comfortable in her new home away from for the next three hours.

Once the sun went down, the temperature quickly dropped inside the car.

"So when I first got into this car it read 38 degrees. Now were sitting at just above 25 degrees and I can definitely feel the temperature difference. It's definitely a lot colder," said KSFY's Hedrick.

To just how much the cold affects the body, Sioux Falls Rural Metro Ambulance Paramedic Katie Kruger was keeping a close eye on KSFY's Hedrick's vital signs.

"Her initial blood pressure was 128 over 72 and since then we've been monitoring her every half hour, her blood pressure has actually jumped 20 points. Her last blood pressure was 148 over 92," said Kruger.

After more than two hours of KSKFY's Hedrick being in the confines of a cold car and being alone with her thoughts, the cold was starting to become unbearable.

"Just kind of trying to think of those little ways to keep moving and keep yourself warm," said KSFY's Hedrick.

Finally, the three hours were up. It was time to take KSFY's Hedrick's last vital signs. What was most surprising was how much her body temperature dropped.

"Now down to 95 degrees. So over the course of three hours, your temperature dropped three degrees. Once we start dipping below 95 is when we start to see problems," said Kruger.

That 95 degree mark is where symptoms of hypothermia start setting in.

Although the cold was starting to have a real impact, Kruger says it's always better to stay with the car than to venture out into the elements.


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