Oakwood Weather-Related Health Report

The four hospitals of Oakwood in Dearborn, Taylor, Trenton and Wayne, Michigan  – plus Oakwood’s emergency room in Canton – are responding to the health impacts of the arctic cold blanketing the system’s southeast Michigan communities. This is a round-up of what the Oakwood physicians and nurses are addressing:

Emergency—  Emergency professionals are treating numerous cases of extremely cold extremities nearing frostbite and some frostbite cases.  They are also seeing a very high level of patients presenting with flu and flu-like symptoms; several have been admitted. The cold weather has definitely not suppressed the influenza virus and serious coughs and breathing challenges should be addressed by your doctor (Oakwood offers same-day sick appointments by calling 800.543.WELL). Trauma teams at our hospitals are also seeing patients coming in from auto injury accidents from folks spinning out on black ice and fine, silt-like snow that affords no traction.

Cardiac Care –  In these frigid conditions, blood flow becomes even more critical as temperatures cause blood vessels to constrict.  In some scenarios, people with compromised blood flow feel the effects sooner when snow shoveling or other exertion. People with prior heart conditions are particularly vulnerable. Oakwood Healthcare physicians are seeing patients who experienced chest pain symptoms (including heart attack) while shoveling and pushing cars out of snow banks. 

Critical Care – Oakwood’s critical care units are nearly full. Critical care professionals are treating numerous patients with compromised respiratory systems from cold and flu.  Asthmatics who get the cold or flu are having a particularly difficult time breathing in extremely cold weather. Trauma victims related to motor vehicle accidents are also receiving care.

Oakwood physicians remind individuals to:
  • Stay indoors if possible If you must venture outdoors, warm up your body first with simple stretches and light exercises
  • Dress in layers - taking extra care to protect the extremities – head, nose, fingers, toes
  • Use proper lifting techniques when shoveling to avoid putting strain on your back
  • Take frequent breaks from shoveling to rest
  • Stay hydrated with water and avoid alcohol which gives only a short-term sensation of warmth and can actually draw blood flow away from where it is needed most
Oakwood Healthcare’s next report will be issued at 10:30 PM today.

*A twice daily report from the experts at Oakwood on the health impact of the critical cold the community is enduring. All four Oakwood hospitals operate award-winning emergency, critical care and cardiac care units, which are seeing the effects of the weather. Here’s where to find care in your community:

Oakwood urgent care – Dearborn, Southgate

Oakwood emergency care – Canton, Dearborn, Taylor, Trenton, Wayne


For more information, please visit www.oakwood.org.