How to protect skin against frostbite

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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. –Michiana is facing the coldest temperatures of the year, and it’s important to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.

A local doctor at Saint Joseph Health System wants to remind the public to layer up and cover all exposed skin if they plan on being outside.

Family Medicine Physician Dr. Leah Napolitano said to keep you from getting frostbite, limit your time outside as much as possible over the next few days.

“It depends on the temperature, the windshield, how covered up you are, if your extremities are wet, but it is very quick,” Dr. Napolitano said.

Frostbite occurs when the skin is exposed to extremely cold weather for too long. Dr. Napolitano said, when this happens, the tips of your fingers and toes can freeze and cause damage to the skin in minutes. Other common areas that can get frostbite are the tips of your nose, chin, cheeks, and ears.

So, if you feel numbness or tingling, or notice your skin is warm or swollen and is a white or grayish yellow color, that’s a bad sign. Dr. Napolitano said all exposed skin should be protected, by layering up or staying inside altogether. That especially goes for your little ones.

“Make sure you’re watching your young children, make sure they have dressed appropriately in waterproof boots, good coats, mittens, and gloves on their hands,” Dr. Napolitano said. “They tend to not really recognize their symptoms as much, to make sure that you’re bringing them in as much as possible and they are dressed appropriately.”

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