Frigid temperatures throughout the Ozarks can be deadly

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Prolonged exposure to the extreme cold is dangerous and can take a devastating toll on your body.

Health officials say that being outside in this type of weather for even just a few minutes can be dangerous.

"Even though they're saying this is going to be the coldest in a hundred years, it's still not that far from our winter norm," said Tom Emery of CoxHealth.

Try telling that to Rick Meyer.

"I don't like it. Its stinking cold. "I just try not to be in the elements as much as possible. That's really the best protection," he said.

His friend, H.J. Schumer is more prepared.

He said, "Layers, many layers that's the only way for me."

Emery said, "Every layer will trap a certain amount of heat. That's the whole idea is to trap the heat next to your body."

For extreme cold, experts say you should wear 3 layers up top, 2 layers below the waist. Be sure to wear a hat, gloves and waterproof shoes. Experts say be careful not to over dress.

"The sweat will actually evaporate causing more heat loss than it preserves," said Emery.

It you don't protect yourself it can be deadly.

"Clamping down of your blood vessels occurs in an attempt to keep you warm. If you already have compromised blood vessels they'll clamp down even tighter. That can lead to a heart attack for people who have conditions," said Emery.

After a while, hypothermia is almost certain.

"As your body begins to shut down in an attempt to conserve heat. Blood to the brain will begin to slow as well keeping it more towards the core, your trunk. Most people, before they freeze to death will go to sleep, he said.

However, Emery believes most people take the right precautions to stay safe.

"It is a dangerous time. I think most people who have grown up here have a healthy respect for the extreme temperatures," he said.

If you have to warm yourself up, health experts say to do it slowly and gradually.

If you have any doubts see a doctor right away.