Sanford Physician Gives Tips for Staying Safe During Frigid Temperatures

With the coming temperatures, any exposed skin is at risk of frostbite

FARGO, N.D. – It’s a life or death situation if you’re not properly dressed during frigid winter temperatures.

You could face frostbite in…

“Less than five minutes, if their skin is uncovered,” Sanford Occupational Medicine Physician Dr. John Beauclair said.

Dr. John Beauclair advises people to cover the crucial areas of your body when it’s this cold.

“Make sure you have adequate covering for your fingers and your toes, which are the furthest and the most likely to get cold,” Dr. Beauclair said. “The tip of your nose is an important thing, that’s why people wear masks, ski masks that cover their faces.”

With actual temperatures expected to get into the negatives, any exposed skin might be at risk for frostbite.

This might mean adding another layer to your wardrobe.

“Generally, we do recommend people wear multiple layers,” Dr. Beauclair said. “When they’re traveling, they should have an extra layer in case they get stranded.”

Dr. Beauclair says the elderly and children are the most vulnerable to freezing temperatures.

“They’re so excited about being outside,” Dr. Beauclair said. “They don’t really have the protective mechanisms, especially when their digits are small. When their extremities are smaller they tend to get colder faster.”

But if you do find yourself in a frostbite situation…

“The first that you will notice is that they feel stiff and they don’t function and move quite as easily and sensation, you will notice a decrease sensation,” Dr. Beauclair said. “They will start to hurt, which are ways the body is telling you, you better get these things warmed up.”

In order to get warmed up, he suggests putting the affected areas in a body temperature bath to regain movement.

When dealing with severe frostbite..

“The first thing you will notice is some blistering,” Dr. Beauclair said. “It will look almost like a burn where blisters will occur on the skin. You should seek medical attention if there is evidence of blistering.”

While there are ways to treat damage done by the winter weather, it’s much easier to prevent it than to treat it.

Categories: Health, North Dakota News