Safety Tip of the Week – Cold Weather Safety – Frostbite

Extremely cold air comes every winter into at least part of the country and affects millions. This Arctic air can be dangerous. Combined with brisk winds, dangerous cold wind chill values can result. People exposed to extreme cold are susceptible to frostbite in a matter of minutes. Areas most prone to frostbite are uncovered skin and the extremities.

Watch for Frostbite

If you suspect frostbite, immediately do the following:

  • Move inside to a heated location and begin warming the affected areas using warm water or body heat.
  • Do not use hot water or radiant heat such as a fireplace such sense affected areas can be easily burned.
  • Seek medical attention for severe frostbite.

Signs and Symptoms of Frostbite

Redness or pain in any skin area may be the first sign of frostbite. Other signs include a white or grayish yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness.

To Avoid Frostbite

Stay inside during severe cold, especially when the wind chill is -50 degrees Fahrenheit or below. If you must go outdoors do the following:

  • Try to cover every part of your body, (ears, nose, toes, and fingers, etc.);
  • Wear mittens, they are better than gloves;
  • Keep your skin dry;
  • Stay out of the wind when possible;
  • Drink plenty of fluids since hydration increases the blood’s volume, which helps prevent frostbite; Y
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes.
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