ZANESVILLE, Ohio – People often underestimate the risk of cold exposure. The two biggest concerns to this cold exposure are frostbite and hypothermia.
Frostbite is the injury to the body where the skin freezes and the loss of tissue can occur. Skin becomes a white-grayish color and feels waxy. Frostbite can be very painful. Protecting the ears, nose, fingers, and toes by wearing warm clothing is extremely important, as they are most likely to get frostbite.
“When you do go out, if you have to go out, dress in layers. Loose-fitting layers. Air between loose layers tends to insulate better than tight clothing. Wool clothing is better than cotton clothing,” said Medical Director of Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department, Dr. Jack Butterfield.
Hypothermia is when the body loses heat fast than it can be replaced, and the body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms of hypothermia are loss of coordination, confusion, and memory loss.
“If you are with someone who has hypothermia, the most important thing is get them get out of that cold. Warm them generally with blankets. Maybe hot water bottles in the armpits and their groin. For instance to warm them gently, and call 9-1-1,” said Butterfield.
It’s important to pay attention to wind chill during the winter season. Wind chills as low as -20, can cause frostbite to develop in as little as five minutes.