With temperatures across the U.S. dipping to deadly lows, we all need to keep in mind just how quickly hypothermia can set in. A 90-year-old woman died last Wednesday on the steps of her home near Long Lake in Fabius Township, Michigan.
Ada Salna had gone outside to feed the birds and her cats. She somehow locked herself outside the home at the fairly isolated property and was found dead around 1:30 p.m. Ada had tried breaking a window to get back inside and between the loss of blood and the hypothermia she didn’t make it.
In an interview with WOODTV News pathologist Joyce deJong from Western Michigan University stated Ada died of hypothermia. Ada was last seen around 54 pm Tuesday. She could have died at any time between then and Wednesday afternoon as hypothermia can set in within minutes.
Ada was covered in snow when she was found. Neighbors described her as a lady who kept to herself and may not have known much English.
Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital injury prevention specialist Jennifer Hoekstra said the eight-degree temperature which dipped to -15 before Ada’s body was found were life-threatening. Especially since the wind chills were between -40 and -45.
“All in all, throughout all of these cold temperatures for every age, it’s really important to limit the time that we’re outside, to cover up exposed skin, and to make sure we’re prepared with the correct clothing when we head outdoors.”
Please keep a check on the elderly in your area during the cold weather. If you have to go outside for any reason, it’s a good idea to take precautions and be sure you have the key to your home on you just in case you accidentally lock yourself out.
Bring cats and other pets inside if at all possible. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to set up space in a small bathroom or laundry room. Keep garage doors cracked if you have stray cats you care for.
It’s so sad this poor woman lost her life caring for birds and cats. I feel sure many of us can relate to her. Personally, my daughter and I put out birdseed for the Cardinals and sparrows who depend on us and both canned and dry cat food for the opossum family who comes to eat each night.