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Recognizing Frostbite Before It's Too Late

Summary: One very serious risk with the arctic cold and wind chills is frostbite.
Air Date: 1/31/14
Duration: 10
Host: Dr. Leigh Vinocur, MD
Guest Bio: Juan Fitz, MD
Dr. Juan Fitz is an Attending Emergency Physician and Co-Medical Director of the Chest Pain Center at Covenant Medical in Lubbock, Texas. He is also on the Clinical Faculty at Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. Dr. Fitz is a post board member of the Texas College of Emergency Physicians, past chair of the Texas Medical Association Trauma Committee and Past President of the Lubbock County Medical Society.
Recognizing Frostbite Before It's Too Late
Many parts of the country have been subjected to sub-zero temperatures this winter.

One very serious risk with the arctic cold and wind chills is frostbite.

Frostbite is damage to the skin and underlying tissue that results when the blood vessels contract restricting blood flow to certain areas-- often the ears, nose and fingers -- due to extreme cold conditions.

In this segment, Dr. Juan Fitz joins Dr. Leigh to help you and your family protect against frostbite and to be prepared should you be subjected.

Exposed skin can be at risk of frostbite within 5-10 minutes when conditions are zero degrees or below. Severe frostbite can lead to amputation, so it is important to know how to prevent or reduce your risk.

Never rub snow on your skin; that is a myth and can actually increase the symptoms. Your best bet is to slowly warm the area. Do not rub the area and keep it immobilized. In severe cases it is always best to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

You can help prevent the risk of frostbite by covering any normally exposed areas of your body, such as ears, fingers, and nose. Also, wear warm socks and proper shoes when you are going to be subjected to ice and snow for long periods of time.