Frostbite Warning Issued For The Region

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- If you got winter gear as a recent holiday gift, better wear it over the next few days.

As arctic blast of cold air comes through the region the National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill advisory.

Dress properly, and you'll just need a few minutes in the warm indoors to recover from being out in that blustery wind but any amount of exposed skin will be at real risk of frostbite.

The shift from discomfort to the danger of damaging your dermis. According to Bob Thompson of the National Weather Service it happens when the wind chill gets down to about fifteen below zero------as it will in Boston on Thursday.

“In those kinds of windshields all it takes is bare skin and just a five to ten minute exposure in to the risk of frostbite,” Thompson said.

According to The Center for Disease Control Frostbite is a serious condition injury that is similar to a burn that can damage skin, muscles and even bones.

Those who have poor blood circulation and are not properly dressed for the extreme cold temperatures are at a greater risk of getting frost bite.

That exposed skin will go from cold, to numb, and red.    Time to get indoors.  The next stage is when that red skin starts turning pale and the affected area actually feels warm.  That's when you might need a doctor. 

Usually people are often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb.

According to the CDC one of the ways to avoid to avoid frostbite and hypothermia is to stay warm and dress in layers – preferably layers that are water resistant.

From the CDC: Avoid, Spot, Treat Frostbite and Hypothermia

What should you do if you detect frostbite?

According to the CDC, If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care. First determine whether the victim also shows signs of hypothermia. Hypothermia is a more serious medical condition and requires emergency medical assistance.

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.

•  Unless absolutely necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes—this increases the damage.

•   Immerse the affected area in warm—not hot—water (the temperature should be comfortable to the touch for unaffected parts of the body).

• Or, warm the affected area using body heat. For example, the heat of an armpit can be used to warm frostbitten fingers.

• Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it at all. This can cause more damage.

• Don’t use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming. Affected areas are numb and can be easily burned.

These procedures are not substitutes for proper medical care. Hypothermia is a medical emergency and frostbite should be evaluated by your doctor.

WBZ NewsRadio1030’s Kendall Buhl reports.

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