With temperatures plunging to the single digits and wind chill values estimated at as low as -17 degrees, the NWS warns that prolonged exposure to cold and wind can lead to frostbite and hypothermia.
First responders recommend the following, should you suspect frostbite:
- Call 911
- Get the person to a warm place and remove any wet clothing.
- Unless absolutely necessary, the person should not walk on frostbitten toes or feet.
- Do not rewarm the skin until you can keep it warm. Warming and then re-exposing the frostbitten area to cold air can cause worse damage.
- Gently warm the area in warm water (not hot) or with wet heat until the skin appears red and warm.
- If no water is nearby, breathe on the area through cupped hands and hold it next to your body.
- Do not use direct heat from heating pads, radiator, or fires.
- Do not rub or massage the skin or break blisters.
- Bandage the Area
- Loosely apply dry, sterile dressings.
- Put gauze or clean cotton balls between fingers or toes to keep them separated.