Doctors talk about bitter temperatures and the dangers to the body

Dangers of cold weather temperatures

COLUMBIA, Mo. - As temperatures continue to plunge below freezing, frostbite and hypothermia can be a major health threat. 

Doctors say that not only can wind chills be dangerous on these cold nights, but there are other health factors that could play a factor in someone getting frostbite. 

Dr. Flynn, with MU Health Care, told ABC 17 News that your health condition, along with eating enough, being dehydrated and drinking alcohol are all contributing factors that could lead someone to develop frostbite faster.

Bryan Foote stood outside for about an hour Thursday night ringing the Salvation Army Red Kettle Bell.

"It's cold, so cold I can't check my phone for the temperature because it died," Foote said. 

Frostbite occurs when the skin, and sometimes tissues beneath the skin, freezes due to exposure to cold temperatures. The most common areas affected are on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. 

Frostnip, the first stage of frostbite, doesn't cause permanent skin damage. The first signs include redness and a stinging, burning, throbbing sensation followed by numbness. This could happen in as little as 30 minutes. 

Dr. Flynn says mild frostbite can be treated by rewarming your skin but more severe cases of frostbite require medical attention. 

One thing you don't want to do is run frostbitten area under hot water, no matter how tempting it may be.

Some ways to prevent frostbite are to: dress in layers, protect your feet, head and hands.

Doctors say that you can lose up to 40% of your body heat from your head. 



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