Frostbite do's and don'ts
It is going to get bitter cold out there and frostbite is a real danger.
If the skin on your nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes begins to turn red or starts to hurt you may have the start of frostbite.
Get inside and get warm.
Other signs are white or yellow-grayish skin or skin that feels unusually firm or waxy, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Those with poor circulation - or who didn't dress for the conditions - are most at risk.
Often those affected are unaware until someone else points it out because the skin has already become numb and they can't feel it, the CDC warns.
If you do suspect frostbite there are some do's and dont's.
Don't walk on frostbitten feet or toes. That only increases the damage.
Don't rub the area with snow or attempt to massage it either. There is an increased risk of damage.
The skin can easily be burned if you use a heating pad or heat lamp, heat from a stove, radiator or fireplace so the CDC recommends avoiding that approach.
The best things to do are warm the area with body heat - by putting cold fingers under your armpits. Or immerse the affected area in warm - NOT hot - water.
You still should see a health care provider, the CDC recommends. Frostbite is a medical emergency and if left untreated, severe cases can lead to amputation.
- Mari A. Schaefer