Preventing frostbite in frigid temperatures

Published: Dec. 27, 2022 at 5:16 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – As temperatures drop, the risk of frostbite goes up. Frostbite can develop on uncovered skin in just a matter of minutes.

Initially it feels painful, but after a while exposed extremities can become numb.

Frostbite typically occurs on the tips of our bodies like ears, nose, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes. There are three key steps in preventing frostbite.

First, keep yourself protected by wearing winter gear with coats, hats and gloves.

Second, stay indoors when you are able to.

Third, make sure you are prepared if you do have to travel in frigid temps.

“You want to make sure you keep your skin nice and dry. Anytime it’s wet, it can cause the heat loss to be much worse. Just make sure you’re wearing multiple layers. Make sure you’re not wearing too tight, because you actually want a little bit of air between to help insulate,” Mayo Clinic emergency medicine physician Dr. Daniel Chiang said.

If you do end up developing frostbite, you should slowly warm the extremity without using something too hot. You can actually burn yourself by exposing yourself to something too hot like a fire or hot water, because you may not be able to feel it’s too hot.