How to Avoid & Treat Frostbite from Extreme Western Massachusetts Temperatures
With the serious dangerous drop in temperature tonight through tomorrow in the Berkshires, it is very important to take the possibility of frostbite seriously. The National Weather Service is calling wind chill values of -25 to -35 below zero. Tomorrow no relief in sight with a high tomorrow afternoon of 7 degrees and a windchill of -21.
According to the CDC “Frostbite is a type of injury caused by freezing. It leads to a loss of feeling and color in the areas it affects, usually extremities such as the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation”. The threat of frostbite can be drastically diminished by covering up all exposed skin before heading out into the cold. For individuals that have poor blood circulation are at greater risk of frostbite according to the CDC.
Frostbite symptoms are white or grayish-yellow skin tone…numbness…and skin that feels unusually firm or waxy according to the CDC.
The CDC offers up these dos and don’ts if you believe you may have frostbite are…
1-Get into a warm room as soon as possible
2-You should not walk if frostbite has affected feet or toes as it can increase damage.
3- Stay away from the heat of a heating pad, heat lamp, fireplace, stove, or radiator for warming as affected areas can easily burn to cause additional problems.
4- Use warm water, not hot water on affected areas.
5- If warm water is not available use other body parts to warm up affected areas such as your armpit or crotch to warn frostbitten hands and fingers.
Frostbite can be avoided in many cases using common sense when you go out into the cold. However often you might find yourself in an emergency situation such as being stuck in your car during a snowstorm or losing power at home during frigid conditions. The Boy Scout motto is “Be Prepared.” Have extra blankets, gloves, hats, sweaters in the trunk of your car in the winter months just in case. If you can avoid going out until this cold snap breaks it would be advisable. What a great excuse to veg out and chill (figuratively not literally).