Opinion: That Biting Cold You Feel Can Be Serious

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Jan 222014

There are many gross photos of frostbitten fingers on the Internet I chose to go easy on you.

There are many gross photos of severely         frostbitten fingers on the Internet I chose         to go easy on you.

For the past couple of days, I’ve been searching for useful information to help keep you and your family members safe and healthy in the freezing weather.

According to the National Weather Service’s wind-chill chart, if the temperature is -15 degrees out with a 20 mph wind, the temperature will feel like -42 degrees and your child could get frostbite within 10 minutes.

The temperatures that we saw around here 8-12 degrees Fahrenheit with the steady low winds we could be outside for a half hour before getting frostbite.

Frostbite typically affects smaller more exposed body parts like- the nose, earlobes, fingers, hands and toes, so when I went out to clear off my car and to shovel the snow I wore layers, including a hoodie, hooded winter coat, wool socks, insulated snow boots, “thinsulate” gloves and I worked as quickly as I could to complete the job.

I cleared the walk in front of my house and the front and back stairs and 3/4 of the car when suddenly my fingers began to burn. The pain was almost unbearable.

I remembered what I read about frostbite

Signs and symptoms you should look out for include:

• A change in skin color- usually to a red, white or pale grayish-yellow color

• A prickly and slightly painful sensation

• Hard or waxy looking skin

• Numbness 

• A cold or burning feeling 

• Blistering, in severe cases

If you ever suspect you have frostbite, get indoors and bathe the affected area in lukewarm water – not hot water. — This is what I did.

My fingertips are still slightly numb and tingly, but they aren’t red anymore and I can type without any pain. (My nose is still freezing though)

Moral of the story. Be very careful out there, don’t ignore any signs of trouble. Keep a close eye on your children and don’t let your pets stay outside for long. The pads on their feet are susceptible to injury just like our fingers and toes.