Large snowstorms, harsh winter temperatures, and extreme cold are fairly common in our part of the U.S. During the winter season, it is no secret people are exposed to several health risks, even injury. Frostbite and hypothermia are some of risks to be aware of. Remember that these two aren’t minor issues. They can actually can kill a person!
Temperatures can go low enough that everyone outside and even those inside their homes might develop cold weather related injuries. That’s why the American Red Cross in partnership with local authorities doesn’t fail to ask and instruct people to limit their activities outside during extreme cold temperatures. Also, bear in mind that pets are susceptible to the same risks as humans, they too are at risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
Aside from wearing the ideal clothing, everyone should also be aware and lookout for the signs of frostbite. This type of risk will mostly happen to young children and the elderly. Also, those who suffer from limited blood circulation, especially smokers, and increased blood circulation like alcoholics are also at a greater risk of developing and suffering frostbite.
Hands, Feet & Head:
The areas in the body that are quite vulnerable to frostbite are the hands, feet, and the head. Due to extended exposure of the cold and the lack of proper care, frostbite may actually lead to permanent nerve and tissue damage, something that should be avoided.
Even if there are no specific or exact conditions within which frostbite happens, the combination of a wind chill and below zero temperatures will significantly decrease the time it would take a person to develop it. Also, it has to be noted that the skin does not have to be necessarily exposed for it to develop frostbite. For instance, having wet hands and feet will in fact aggravate the loss of body heat, which of course is the precondition for developing frostbite.
One of the first signs is the feeling of numbness. The skin in this case will turn red and will feel like it is burning. After that, the skin will turn pale white at which time it has reached a more serious stage.
In order to effectively warm up the hands and feet, it is highly recommended that you use body heat or perhaps warm water. While it may be tempting to warm up quickly, do not put your hands over an open flame. If you happen to be experiencing the early stages of frostbite, an open flame will do more harm than good. Of course, it is always wise to seek the proper medical attention if you have been exposed to extreme cold temperatures and feel as though you have frostbite. Keep this in mind: you cannot in any way underestimate the injury or permanent damage that frostbite might cause you. This means you need to address the coldness immediately. You may not think that you are at risk, however, you could possibly incur more damage like exhaustion, uncontrollable shivering, drowsiness, and even memory loss.
In cases of emergencies, call 911. In non-emergency situations, you can always call our office at (630) 584-2400