Cold-Related Illness

Cold weather can put a person in a dangerous situation due to its effect on the body. Cold temperatures can impact your blood circulation, cardiovascular system and airways. Plan ahead, prepare your homes and vehicles and avoid going out into cold weather to stay healthy and protected.

Cold Weather Shelter Information

The overnight shelters are only open from 8 PM-7 AM between November 1-March 31 on nights that it is 32 degrees or colder between the hours of 10 PM and 4 AM. 

Those needing shelter should come to Grace United Methodist Church at 600 S. Jefferson Ave. between 5:00-6:00 p.m. A hot meal is provided and buses will transport to the shelters at 6:30 p.m. The shelters and their capacities are listed below. 

  1. Men Only (No pets)
  2. Women Only (No Pets)
  3. All Genders (No Pets)
  4. All Genders (With Pets)
  5. Family Shelters
  6. Day Shelters
Name Address Details
East Sunshine Church of Christ 3721 E. Sunshine 50 beds
Sacred Heart Catholic Church 1609 N. Summit Ave. 25 beds, only open the 2 coldest nights each week
Harbor House
636 N. Boonville Ave. ID required, no sex offenders, must pass UA, sobriety required, background checks. Call 417-831-3371 for information and availability.

Tips to stay safe during cold weather:

  • Stay indoors, if possible. If heat or shelter is not available, consider visiting a building open to the public like a shopping mall, public library, church or community building. 
  • Drink more fluids – regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty but avoid drinks containing caffeine and alcohol because they affect how your body reacts to the cold.  
  • Cover your head since most body heat is lost through the head. 
  • Dress in layers since the space between the layers works as insulation to help keep you warmer than a single heavy layer. 
  • Minimize sitting or squatting in the cold for prolonged periods of time. These activities can hinder circulation. 
  • Adjust to outdoor activity. Stretch and do a few exercises before going outside to work to avoid muscle strain. Extreme cold puts extra strain on the heart – no matter what your age or physical condition. 
  • Use the buddy system. Monitor the condition of those you’re with and have someone do the same for you.  
  • Carry extra clothes with you such as socks, gloves, hats and jacket so you can change them if you get wet

Types of Cold-Related Illness

  1. Hypothermia
  2. Frostbite
  3. Trench Foot
  4. Chilblains

Your body loses heat faster than it can be produced in cold weather. Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures will exhaust your body’s energy, causing your body temperature to drop leading to hypothermia.  

If you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, Parkinson’s, memory loss, or thyroid problems, you may take medicines that make it hard to regulate your body temperature. Ask your doctor if this is an issue for you or any questions you might have about hypothermia. 

Older adults are more sensitive to cold than younger adults. Body temperature below 95°F, or hypothermia, increases their risk of heart disease and kidney or liver damage, especially if they have a history of low body temperature or have had hypothermia in the past. 

Early Symptoms:

  • Shivering 
  • Fatigue 
  • Loss of coordination 
  • Confusion and disorientation

Late Symptoms:

  • No shivering 
  • Blue skin 
  • Dilated pupils 
  • Slowed pulse and breathing 
  • Loss of consciousness


  • Call 9-1-1 if you or someone else is showing possible signs of hypothermia.  
  • Move into a warm room or shelter.  
  • Remove any wet clothing.  
  • Warm the center of the body first-chest, neck, head, and groin-using an electric blanket, if available; or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets. 
  • After their body temperature has increased, keep the victim dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck. 
  • If victim has no pulse, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).