OMAHA (kptm) - The cold weather the last few days has increased the risk of frostbite. And the coming weeks are only going to get colder.
"National Weather Service, how can I help you?"
Dave Fobert is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He says the coldest part of winter is just around the corner. "Normally we get the cold period of the season occurring during the first couple weeks in January," Fobert says.
He says colder temperatures and higher winds increase the risk of exposed skin getting frostbite. Health Department spokesman, Phil Rooney says, "It can be very painful, people could lose a finger or a toe or foot something like that, it's potentially very serious condition."
"The main thing is to be prepared for the conditions and to at least have the clothing available. If you don't have it on you when you're out and about at least have it available in your car…hats and gloves and stuff like that," Fobert says.
They say in just a matter of minutes your exposed skin can be highly susceptible to frostbite and you may not even realize it. "You can almost instantly be frostbitten, it may not be a severe case if you can get out of it quick but it can absolutely happen within a matter of moments if your going to be outside," Rooney says.
The CDC says your skin may start to turn very white, even get a yellow or gray tint and your cheeks will get bright red. Signs you need to be concerned of and a clue to get yourself in a warmer environment. "You have to be careful how you warm yourself up or respond to the frost bite, you rub it vigorously you can injure yourself if you put hands in really hot water or some sort of a heater. The skin is numb and very easy to burn yourself," Rooney says.
In addition, they say if you start to see something going wrong, seek medical attention as the condition could worsen.
Experts say if the wind is blowing, you can get frostbite even if it's above zero. They say the best way to protect yourself, is to cover as much of your skin as possible.
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