TOLEDO (WTOL) - Frigid Arctic temperatures have crept their way into the area and these extremes can pose a risk for those spending a lot of time outdoors.
Frostbite is a bodily injury caused by freezing that results in loss of feeling and color in the affected areas, namely the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes.
The good news is, frostbite can be prevented. Here are some tips from the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department to help keep you and your family safe:
- Limit outdoors time in cold, wet or windy weather. Pay attention to forecasts and wind chill readings. When it is very cold out, frostbite can develop on exposed skin within minutes.
- Wear plenty of warm, loose layers. Loose layers are helpful because air that gets trapped between each layer can act as insulation. Windproof and waterproof outerwear is helpful as well. to protect against wind, snow and rain. Quickly change out of clothing that becomes wet, especially gloves, hats and socks.
- Make sure your ears are covered. Heavy woolen or windproof materials are best.
- Mittens provide better protection that gloves. You can also try a thin pair of glove liners made of a wicking material under a pair of heavy gloves or mittens.
- Wear socks that fit well and provide insulation. Hand and foot warmers are helpful as well. However, make sure that if you use foot warmers, they don’t make your boots too tight, which can restrict blood flow.
- Be prepared and plan ahead. If you are traveling in cold weather, make sure to have emergency supplies and warm clothes in case you become stranded. If you plan on being somewhere remote, it’s a good practice to tell others your route and when you expect to return.
- If you plan on being outdoors in cold weather, you should avoid drinking alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can cause your body to lose heat faster.
- You should make to eat well-balanced meals and stay hydrated. Stay ahead and do this before you even get out into the cold. It will help you stay warm.
- Get some exercise! Moving around can get the blood flowing and help you stay warm, just make sure you don’t exhaust yourself.
- Be aware of the signs of frostbite. Early signs of frostbite include red or pale skin, prickling, and numbness. Be on the lookout for a warm shelter if you notice signs of frostbite.
Frostbite can cause permanent damage and in some cases can lead to amputation.
At the first signs of redness or pain in areas of the skin, you should get out of the cold. Frostbite may be beginning.
Signs of frostbite can include:
- White or grayish-yellow skin area
- Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
Sufferers of frostbite are often unaware of the problem until it is pointed out to them because of numbing tissues. If you have symptoms of frostbite, you should seek medical assistance.