Frostbite can quickly occur with the low temperatures and wind chills we are experiencing across the state. Floyd Valley Hospital emergency room coordinator, Mary Jo Clark, says you will probably not even realize you have frost bite while you are still outside.
“When you get inside, that’s when you start to rewarm and you start to have more problems. You may notice some pain, tingling, that kind of stuff. That’s actually good, that means that you haven’t destroyed any nerve endings or done too much permanent damage,” Clark says. “The important thing is, don’t rub.” Wind speed by mid-morning at the hospital in Le Mars were 12 to 18 miles-an-hour with the temperature at six below zero.
Clark says under those conditions it would take about 30 minutes for exposed skin to freeze. “That is to freeze, so before then is where you are going to get your frostbite. Now if the wind speeds do pick up, lets say they get up to 35 miles-an-hour with a negative six degrees, it will take 10 minutes for exposed skin to freeze,” Clark says. Clark says the Floyd Valley hospital has already treated several cases of frost bite this winter, including this past week. She says if you need to be outside, then you should bundle up, and limit your time outdoors.
Your face, nose, ears, fingers and toes are usually the first areas to suffer from frost bite. And you should be cautious if you believe you have suffered frost bite. “The important thing is don’t rub…I know it’s a human instinct to rub your hands or your toes, don’t do that,” Clark says. “What we recommend is do warm tub or a warm sink of water and put your hands or your feet in there and slowly warm them up. Not hot, warm water and then don’t rub. And then just gradually wring them up until they aren’t tingling or having any pain.”
The Floyd Valley nurse says if you notice blisters, or some whitish color or crystalizing of the skin, you should go to the hospital for immediate care.
(Reporting by, Dennis Morrice, KLEM, Le Mars)