Taiwan has recently been hit by a succession of cold spells. The Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration (HPA) has issued a special reminder for scooter and motorcycle riders to beware of strong winds that could cause their body temperature to drop too fast, and to take precautions against the cold. People should memorize the warning signs of heart disease and stroke, and anyone who suffers from facial drooping, arm weakness or speech difficulties should promptly be taken for medical treatment.
All parts of Taiwan have been experiencing cold weather under the influence of a strong continental cold air masses and radiative cooling. With cold currents assaulting Taiwan one after another, HPA Director-General Wang Ying-wei reminded the public to make sure to keep warm. This is especially true for older people and those with the “three highs” (high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high blood cholesterol) or cardiovascular disease, who must take precautions against the cold to protect themselves from suffering acute symptoms of cardiovascular disease brought on by low temperatures and large temperature changes. The impact that low temperatures can have on human health should never be underestimated.
As well as saying that older people and those suffering from chronic illnesses should keep warm, the HPA observed that winter is probably the toughest season for those who commute by scooter or motorcycle. Riders have to bear the rigors of low temperatures, plus the cold wind generated by the speed of their vehicles, so the HPA reminded the public that strong winds can cause excessively rapid loss of body heat. It said that they should reduce their speed when riding, and their clothes should keep them warm while also allowing free movement and not influencing riders’ control of their vehicles or their clarity of vision. For the outermost layer of clothing, riders can choose a rainproof and windproof coat or jacket and make sure to keep their arms and legs warm, for example by wearing gloves and socks, and keep their head and neck warm by wearing a scarf or mask. These are all effective steps that one can take against the cold.
Photo: Tang Shih-ming, Liberty Times 照片：自由時報湯世名
The HPA said that low temperatures can cause your blood vessels to constrict, which makes your blood pressure go up and in turn increases the likelihood of a heart attack or acute stroke. If you notice that you or friends or family members are exhibiting signs of heart disease or stroke, please seek medical attention as soon as possible, before the time window for seeking emergency treatment passes. Heart disease symptoms such as sudden chest tightness or pain, pain in the arms, breathing difficulty, nausea, exhaustion, dizziness or fainting may well signify a heart attack, so you should immediately seek medical attention and receive treatment. As to signs of a stroke, people should learn by heart the “FAST” acronym for stroke, which stands for Face, Arm, Speech, Time. It means that if someone exhibits the telltale symptoms of facial drooping, arm weakness and/or speech difficulties, it is time to call for an ambulance or go straight to hospital. This is a good way to recognize the main initial symptoms of a stroke and grasp the time window to potentially save someone’s life.
(Translated by Julian Clegg, Taipei Times)
hoto: World Stroke Organization 照片：世界中風組織
國健署指出，低溫會造成血管收縮，使血壓上升，進而增加心臟病和中風急性發作的機會，民眾如發現自己或親友出現心臟病及中風徵兆，請盡速就醫，爭取黃金搶救期，心臟病徵兆例如突然發生胸悶、胸痛、手臂疼痛、呼吸困難、噁心、極度疲倦、頭暈或暈厥等症狀，很有可能就是心臟病急性發作，應該要立即就醫接受治療；而中風徵兆要牢記FAST（快、快、快，帶表英文的Face, Arm, Speech, Time ）中風口訣，「臉歪手垂大舌頭」，辨識中風初期的重要症狀，把握黃金時間搶救急性中風。（自由時報）
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