People planning to celebrate Carnaval this weekend are being warned to wrap up warmly and to be aware of the signs of hypothermia.
The Red Cross says it will be ‘very cold’ during the three days of celebrations and that many people are unaware of the risk of combining alcohol, skimpy costumes and sub zero temperatures.
Uncontrollable shivering, a pale skin and shallow breathing are all signs of hypothermia, as is becoming groggy, the first aid group said. People who show signs of being too cold should be taken to a warm place and given hot, sweet drinks.
Partygoers are also being warned about drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol causes blood vessels to expand, resulting in more rapid heat loss from the surface of the skin.
The roots of carnaval stem from the Catholic period preceding Lent, the ‘feast’ before the ‘fast’. The carnival festivities – complete with lavishly decorated floats, oompah-oompah music and lots of beer – hit the streets every February.
And although traditionally a festivity for the Catholic south, the party is slowly spreading northwards. Think Mardi Gras or Rio – but without the naked flesh and the sun.