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Frostbite Prevention

Frostbite Prevention


As the wintry weather is settling here in New England, BMC and Dr. Olshaker, Chief of the Emergency Department, want to remind you to stay safe and warm. “Respect the cold and understand how dangerous it can be to be outside for a long period of time,” Dr. Olshaker says.

Frostbite can occur when the skin and underlying tissue freezes due to extreme cold. By planning ahead and following these tips, you can prevent frostbite.

  • Dress appropriately – check the weather before heading outside and plan out what you need to wear
  • Remember to dress in layers of loose insulated clothing – if your clothes get wet, change out of them immediately
  • Protect your hands, feet, and head – wear a hat, appropriate footwear with socks, and mittens
  • Limit your time outside – when it is very cold, frostbite can happen within minutes

Early signs of frostbite include skin becoming cold and red. Dr. Olshaker advises, “If you start to feel these symptoms, the key is to get warmed up and not go back outside. Going back outside can make it worse.”

The next warning signs would be a numbness and prickling feeling in the skin. Then the skin can begin to turn pale and hard. If these symptoms occur, get to a hospital as soon as possible.