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Your Healthy Family: Warning signs and avoiding frostbite

Posted at 11:34 AM, Jan 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-15 13:34:37-05

COLORADO SPRINGS – With our morning temperatures generally well below freezing these days it’s a good time to go over the dangers and warning signs of frost bite.

Dr. Tom Waters is an emergency medicine physician with Cleveland Clinic.  “Prevention is the key for both hypothermia and frostbite. You need to make sure you wear appropriate clothing; stay dry; keep covered up; keep your extremities covered. Also, cover your face when it’s very cold out.”

Dr. Ian Tullberg, MD, and Urgent Care Medical Director with UCHealth Memorial in Colorado Springs has a colorful description of the warning signs of frostbite.

Dr. Tullberg says, “You will start looking like a patriot, red white and blue are the bad colors when it comes to frost bite.  You can also see some gray in your fingers, chin, toes or nose. You want to get those areas warm before that happens. The problem is you might get some tingling and numbing in those areas, so folks that get frost bite don’t realize they are getting frost bite because they don’t feel anything because the nerves are completely numb and dead.”

Remember the best time to treat frostbite is before it happens.  If you’re outside and your fingers and toes start getting cold don’t wait to take steps to warm them up, however you can.

“Normally once someone comes into and emergency room or urgent care unfortunately you can’t treat it too well, usually we will see folks a day later, things have already warmed up you can’t to a whole lot to it,” says Dr. Tullberg.  “If there is substantial frost bite, the emergency room is a good way to get going with your medical care right away.”

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