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How To Know Whether You’re Getting Frostbite

Frostbitten hands/Wikimedia Commons)

Frostbitten hands/Wikimedia Commons)

Today is definitely an indoor recess day. It’s a “cold stress” kind of day, raising risks of Siberian-style ills. If you have to be outside for more than a few minutes, here’s a refresher: Frostbite shows up most often as loss of feeling and color in your extremities — fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks, chin.

And it can happen fast. Canadian television recently tweeted a warning for frigid Winnipeg: “Wind chill values of -40 to -45 expected. Frostbite can happen in less than 10 mins.”

Here are the guidelines from the CDC:

At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin —- frostbite may be beginning. Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:
a white or grayish-yellow skin area
skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
numbness
A victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb.

And the “What to do” section from the CDC:

If (1) there is frostbite but no sign of hypothermia and (2) immediate medical care is not available, proceed as follows:
Get into a warm room as soon as possible. Continue reading