Protect yourself and your family or friends from the cold this winter. Cold temperatures can injure exposed skin, damage extremities, or lower the temperature of the body core, leading to death. Taking time before your winter excursion to be prepared and informed may take the "bite" out of your winter fun.
Frostbite occurs when flesh is frozen. Frozen skin looks white, feels hard and cold, and no longer has any pain sensation. Frostbite victims need to receive medical attention as quickly as possible.
Frostnip is less severe, and only involves freezing of the skin's surface. White patches will show on the skin, usually on cheeks or ears, but the skin will remain soft and still has pain sensation. Usually, placing a warm hand over the affected area will thaw it and restore circulation. Children are especially susceptible and should be watched closely when outdoors in cold temperatures.
When the body's temperature drops, the brain is affected, impairing judgement.
Cold injuries can be prevented. Don't travel alone. Watch out for each other. When someone appears cold or begins to develop white skin patches, stop! Warm cold areas, put on extra clothes, eat, and drink water. Dress in loose layers that can be easily removed when you begin to sweat and put back on when you cool down. Use wool or synthetic clothing, not cotton. Protect ears, face, hands, and feet with proper gear.