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Bitter temperatures cause concern for frost bite

By Heather Hourigan, Reporter, heather.hourigan@kmiz.com
Published On: Dec 07 2013 07:15:16 PM CST
COLUMBIA, Mo. -

Bitter cold temperatures can be felt all over mid Missouri Saturday, with high's reaching below freezing.

That was especially true Friday night, with some counties in mid Missouri dropping to negative digits.

As the temperatures continue to drop, one should be adding more and more layers of clothing before heading outside.

It may sound obvious, but this is the first step to preventing frost bite, according to doctors.

"That trapped air in between layers is what keeps you warm. Making sure you have gloves on is crucial, but the biggest thing is a hat," said Dr. Jason Zerrer with Providence Urgent Care.

Dr. Zerrer tells ABC 17 that you lose 40% of your body heat from your head.

Toes, fingers, and the nose are next. They often get the coldest first and show the early signs of frost bite.

"Frost bite is freezing of the tissue that causes damage. What you are looking for is numbness and turning pale," said Dr. Zerrer.

Doctors told ABC 17 it could take as little as 30 minutes for this to happen. However, ways to stop this if you can not avoid being outside in the cold is Vaseline.

"Since I was going to be outside running for awhile I put vasaline on my nose, cheeks, and eyebrow and lips," said Dr. Ross Duff with Broadway Urgent Care, "it holds the heat in and doesn't cause the skin to get as dry and chapped."

When hands get cold, doctors say to avoid running them under hot water no matter how tempting it may be.

"You just kind of let them warm up- get in front of the heater or something like that and it will come back even though they may be a little bit numb. You'll get pain first typically. When things start getting numb, that is when you need to get inside," said Dr. Zerrer.

If any part of your body does not turn back to its original color, that is when doctors say to seek medical attention.

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