Frostbite occurs when our body’s survival mechanisms kick in during extremely cold weather. To protect our vital organs, the body cuts circulation to our extremities: feet, hands, nose, ears, etc. and left in the cold they’ll eventually freeze.
To avoid frostbite, stay inside during severe cold, especially when the windchill is -50°F or lower. If you have to go out, try to cover every part of your body, exposed to the air. Dress in layers and remember that Mittens work better than gloves to protect your hands. Keep your skin dry. Stay out of the wind as much as possible.
Drink plenty of fluids since hydration increases your blood’s volume, and that helps prevent frostbite. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and smoking in extreme cold. Caffeine constricts blood vessels and that prevents warming of your extremities. Alcohol actually reduces shivering, which helps keep you warm. Cigarettes shut off blood flow to your hands.
In extremely cold weather, frostbite can occur quickly. At zero degrees Fahrenheit, with 15 mile per hour winds, it can happen within 30 minutes and like burns, frostbite has several degrees of severity:
Ice crystals are forming on your skin.
Skin begins to feel warm even though it is not yet defrosted.
Skin turns red, pale or white.
Pain lasts for more than a few hours and skin may develop dark blue or black. See a doctor immediately if these symptoms arise.
For WeatherNation : John Van Pelt