Staying safe in the frigid temperatures

By WEEK Reporter

January 6, 2014 Updated Jan 7, 2014 at 12:11 AM CDT

At least six people in Illinois have died of heart attacks after clearing snow from this weekend's storm. One in McLean County.

The identity of the 71-year-old man is still pending family notification.

The McLean County Coroner said the man was outside for 10 minutes using a snow blower. After coming inside, his wife found him unresponsive.

The Coroner said the man had a history of heart problems.

Medical experts advise anyone with vascular disease or asthma to consult a doctor before performing snow removal.

Being out in the freezing cold for even a matter of minutes can be dangerous.

With a wind chill of 40 below zero, frost bite can occur within 5 minutes of exposure to cold air.

"And the thing that is most serious is hypothermia -- that is when your body loses the ability to warm itself. That can happen outside in the elements, and that can actually happen inside if it is really cold inside the home," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, Illinois Department of Health

If you do not have sufficient heating many fire stations are opening their doors as warming centers.

In Peoria, City officials say turnout at these warming centers are low, but the doors will remain open to the public until this deep freeze ends.