The official start of winter begins December 21, but some parts of the country are already experiencing severe winter weather. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), serious health problems can result from prolonged exposure to the cold. One of the most common problems is frostbite.
Frostbite is an injury to the body caused by freezing, and most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Signs of frostbite include:
· White or grayish-yellow skin area;
· Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy; and
If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care immediately. If medical care is not available, follow these important tips from the CDC, including:
· Get into a warm room as soon as possible;
· Do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes, unless necessary. Doing so can increase the damage; and
· Immerse the affected area in warm water.
For more information about frostbite and how to prevent it, check out this video from the National Weather Service.