Knowing the Warning Signs of Frostbite

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- With temperatures well below freezing and a wind chill sometimes below zero, how do you know if you're just cold or if it's something more serious?

"Sometimes you can't feel frostbite as it's happening," said Dr. Stephen Phillips with our First Alert Health Team

Doctors say that if you start to feel tingling, itching, burning, or numbness on your skin, damage could be happening.

"The skin can initially get reddish, with frostnip, which damages the surface layers and it's not a big deal," said Phillips.

However, that frostnip can progress into frostbite, which can happen to anyone if you're outside too long.

Whether skiing or working, when you're out in the cold you should know what to look for.

"Where the skin gets real pale, waxy looking, cold, the tissues can actually freeze with time," said Phillips.

The most common areas where people get frostbite are their toes, fingers, nose or ears.

"It's people who are not used to being in cold weather that don't dress appropriately," said Phillips

He also said the elderly are most at risk for frostbite or hypothermia.

If you think you or someone else has symptoms get inside and into a warm area and you may need to seek medical help if it's serious.


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