Bundle Up, Watch For Frostbite During Subzero Temps

snowy streets at Playhouse Square in Cleveland
Northeast Ohio is bracing itself for extremely cold winter weather. [ideastream]
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With Northeast Ohio soon to be in the grip of subzero weather, doctors are warning that even short periods of time outside with exposed skin can lead to injury. University Hospitals Emergency Medicine physician Jeffrey Luk says frostbite can happen in a matter of minutes. 

His advice, if you have to go outside during this deep freeze, is to wear lots of layers. “A lot of people will just wear a hat and gloves, but the face will be exposed, so that’s another consideration especially how cold it's going to be.” 

Dr. Luk says frostbite can set in quickly but there are degrees, from mild to severe.  “Initial frostbite — where you’re getting extreme pain and some slight discoloration — will be red, but if you get to severe frostbite then [it's] changing color, it’s getting purple-ish, it's getting bluish, and there may be some lack of sensation there.” 

He says you can treat mild frostbite by warming the skin with lukewarm water — not hot — but more severe cases need to be seen by professionals.

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