It's not like we've never been rained on at Mardi Gras. It's not like it's never been cold at Mardi Gras either. The problem today is that we are getting more than our fair share of cold and wet and that can lead to a potentially dangerous situation called hypothermia.

Those of you are regular campers and outdoors enthusiast already know about hypothermia. It happens when the body is exposed to prolonged periods of cold temperatures that cause the body's internal temperature to drop. The fact that so many of us, including our children, will be out in the cold and possible wet conditions for hours at a time raises this concern especially for today.

What are the symptoms of hypothermia? Shivering is a natural body response to being cold. It's actually a good thing as the body is attempting to create warmth from within. It's when the shivering becomes constant that the red flags go up. Another symptom of hypothermia is confused behavior and slurred speech.  There is also a lack of coordination and stumbling. Unfortunately this are also the symptoms of someone who has had too much to drink. Here is where the danger lies. Those who are impaired and suffering hypothermia might not be able to make sound judgement to get to some place warm.

How do you treat hypothermia? Your first move is to get the victim to someplace warm and consult a medical professional. If no medical help is available it is suggested that wet clothes be removed as soon as possible. Get the victim out of the wind and cover them with warm dry clothes and blankets. Warm liquids are also another great way to begin the warming  process. It is suggested that you avoid drinks with alcohol and caffeine.

Let's be mindful of each other on the parade route today. Pay extra special attention to the little ones as their excitement of being at the parade might mask some of the early warning signs of hypothermia.