Given the extremely cold temperatures and very low wind chills, frostbite can occur in as little as five minutes of exposure. According to Mayo Clinic Health System, signs of frostbite include:
- At first, cold skin and a prickling feeling
- Red, white, bluish-white or grayish-yellow skin
- Hard or waxy-looking skin
- Clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness
- Blistering after rewarming, in severe cases
- Get into a warm room as soon as possible. Remove any wet clothing.
- Cover the person or area in warm blankets.
- Avoid walking on frostbitten feet or toes to avoid more serious damage.
- Immerse the areas affected by frostbite into warm (not hot) water until normal skin color returns. Do not soak the affected area too long (no more than 30 minutes).
- Warm the affected area using body heat.
- Do not rub or massage the affected area as this can cause further damage.
- Do not use anything hot, such as a heating pad, stove, or furnace, to warm the affected area, as these areas are numb and may burn easily due to a lack of sensation.
- The frostbitten area should be gently washed, dried, and wrapped in sterile bandages and kept clean to avoid infection.
- Consult your healthcare provider about the use of an oral antibiotic or topical ointment.
Stay warm everyone!
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