Quincy, IL (WGEM) — These extremely cold conditions can quickly turn dangerous. That’s prompting a warning from Tri-State doctors.
With temperatures dropping below zero and wind chills around negative 20, any exposed skin can get frostbite in just 30 minutes.
SIU Family Medicine doctors say frostbite can commonly cause tissue damage to fingers, toes, nose, ears, and chin, which is why you need to bundle up. They said if you start to feel numb or see your skin change color, you could already have frostbite and you need to move out of the cold and warm back up immediately.
“The key thing is, if you’re trying to re-warm that area of the body, it can get worse if you let that area of the body get cold again,” said Dr. Ben Bukey with SIU. “So, maintaining that warmth until they see a provider whether it’s going to the ED or somebody at the clinic.”
“Sometimes the tissue, the vascular, the nerves in that area are damaged as well, so even if they don’t lose that limb, long term effects include permanent numbness, just pore circulation to that area,” said Bukey about frostbite.
If you start experiencing confusion, shivering, difficulty speaking, sleepiness, or stiff muscles those are signs of Hypothermia. Doctors said you should seek medical attention because Hypothermia can lead to organ damage and possibly death.
Doctors said limit time outdoors, cover all exposed skin, stay hydrated, and dry to help avoid frostbite and hypothermia