There are several weather related conditions and illnesses that are more prevalent in winter months. Here is some information to keep your family safe and reduce your sick of illness this winter.
Frostbite occurs when skin is exposed to cold temperatures becoming number and causing damage. In severe cases it can also lead to amputation. Frostbite can easily be a precursor to hypothermia.
Those at the highest risk includes elderly people without adequate food, clothing or heating; children who are left unattended; adults who are under the influence of alcohol; mentally ill individuals; people who remain outdoors for long periods of time including the homeless, hikers and hunters.
You can prevent frostbite by dressing properly. Adults and children should bundle up by wearing hats, scarves/masks, long-sleeve shirts, gloves/mittens, water-resistant coats and shoes, and several layers of loose-fitting clothing. Remember to shield your face, hands and other body parts from cold temperatures and the wind.
Frostbite symptoms include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, and numbness.
If someone has these symptoms, then it is important to get into a warm room if possible, but don’t put pressure on frostbitten areas or walk on frostbitten feet or toes. Immerse the affected skin in warm- not hot- water. Wrap the re-warmed areas to prevent them from refreezing and then go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
It is important to not rub the frostbitten area or use a heating pad, lamp, stove, fireplace, or radiator to heat the area. These areas can be easily burned since there is numbness.