Prepare for the dangers of frostbite

Published: Jan. 17, 2021 at 5:25 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - It has been a mild winter this year so far in central Wisconsin, but University of Wisconsin Health doesn’t want us to get complacent. It never hurts to be prepared for facing frigid temperatures and the danger they pose. Dangers like frostbite.

Though frostbite can set in at any temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s even more likely when it gets below freezing or in strong winds, according to UW Health assistant professor of surgery Alexandra Lacey.

“When we get down to those polar vortex temperatures when it’s a wind chill below zero and it’s really really going outside, you can get frostbite in a matter of a couple of minutes, especially if you’re not wearing gloves or a hat, so it can happen very very quickly when it’s extremely cold,” Dr. Lacey said.

Dr. lacey warns that anyone spending prolonged time in the cold should take some measures to be prepared. She says moisture is the enemy when it comes to cold weather and frostbite, so she recommends having extra dry clothing available in case you get wet.

“so if it’s going to be a very windy day or a very cold day, planning ahead, making sure you’ve got layers, you’ve got options, and when it’s windy, making sure you have a wind-proof layer, on your hands your feet, your head even if you need it.”

Finally, if you notice bruise-like discoloration on your extremities or blistering, says dr. lacey, you should seek immediate medical attention.

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