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Frigid Major Arctic Temperatures Predicted for Presidents’ Weekend, Know the Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia, Know First Aid

“Morning lows will be below zero Sunday and Monday mornings. With gusty winds it will feel like 30 below zero Sunday morning.” (NBC forecast)

 

Report by Paula Antolini
February 10, 2015 7:32AM EDT

 

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NBC weather map.

Frigid Major Arctic Temperatures Predicted for Presidents’ Weekend, Know the Signs of Frostbite and Hypothermia, Know First Aid

When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced.

“Morning lows will be below zero Sunday and Monday mornings. With gusty winds it will feel like 30 below zero Sunday morning.” (NBC forecast)

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE TEMPERATURE FORECAST:

ThursdayӬ: a high near 25. Wind chill values between 10 and 15.
FridayӬ: high near 27.
Friday NightӬ: low around 12.
Saturday: high near 15.
Saturday: low around -3.
SundayӬ: high near 14.
Sunday NightӬ: low around 6.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With temperature dipping into the negative numbers this upcoming weekend, extra care should be taken to protect your body from freezing. Frostbite can happen sooner than you think.

Frostbite: First aid

When exposed to very cold temperatures, skin and underlying tissues may freeze, resulting in frostbite. The areas most likely to be affected by frostbite are your fingers toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. If you’re interested in acquiring first aid kits to keep on your premises, there’s loads of detail right here about such products.

If your skin pales or turns red and is very cold, hard or waxy looking, you may have frostbite. You may also experience a prickling feeling or numbness. With severe or deep frostbite, you may experience blistering and pain. You can treat very mild frostbite (frostnip) with first-aid measures. All other frostbite requires medical attention. First-aid steps for frostbite are as follows:
• Check for hypothermia. Get emergency medical help if you suspect hypothermia. Signs and symptoms of hypothermia include intense shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness and loss of coordination.
• Protect your skin from further exposure. If you’re outside, warm frostbitten hands by tucking them into your armpits. Protect your face, nose or ears by covering the area with dry, gloved hands. Don’t rub the affected area and never rub snow on frostbitten skin.
• Get out of the cold. Once you’re indoors, remove wet clothes.
• Gently rewarm frostbitten areas. Soak hands or feet in warm water – 99 to 108 F (37 to 42 C) – for 15 to 30 minutes. If a thermometer isn’t available, test the water by placing an uninjured hand or elbow in it – it should feel very warm – not hot.”¨Don’t rewarm frostbitten skin with direct heat, such as a stove, heat lamp, fireplace or heating pad. This can cause burns.
• If there’s any chance the affected areas will freeze again, don’t thaw them. If they’re already thawed, wrap them up so that they don’t refreeze.
• Take pain medicine. If you are in pain, take over-the-counter ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) to reduce pain and inflammation.
• Don’t walk on frostbitten feet or toes if possible. This further damages the tissue.
• Know what to expect as skin thaws. If the skin turns red and you feel tingling and burning as it warms, normal blood flow is returning. But seek emergency medical attention if the numbness or pain remains during warming or if blisters develop.

STAGES OF FROSTBITE

Skin without cold damage is normal (1). Frostnip (2) is mild frostbite that irritates the skin, causing redness, prickling and a cold feeling followed by numbness. Frostnip doesn’t permanently damage the skin and can be treated with first-aid measures. With superficial frostbite (3), your skin feels warm, a sign of serious skin involvement. A fluid-filled blister may appear 24 to 36 hours after rewarming the skin. With deep frostbite (4), you may experience numbness. Joints or muscles may no longer work. Large blisters form 24 to 48 hours after rewarming. Afterward, the area turns black and hard as the tissue dies.

Winter exercise: Watch for frostbite

When exercising in cold weather, be alert for warning signs of frostbite: numbness, loss of feeling or stinging sensation. Frostbite is most common on exposed skin, such as cheeks, nose and ears, but it can also occur on hands and feet. If you think you may have frostbite, get out of the cold and slowly warm the affected area without rubbing. If numbness continues, seek emergency care.

Winter fitness: Safety tips for exercising outdoors

Dressing in layers, protecting your hands and feet, and paying attention to the forecast can help you stay safe and warm while exercising outdoors in cold weather.

Cold weather can discourage even the most motivated exercisers. And if you’re not as motivated, it’s all too easy to pack away your workout gear along with your warm-weather clothing. But you don’t have to let cold weather spell the end of your exercise. With these tips for exercising during cold weather, you can stay fit, motivated and warm when the weather turns chilly.

Stay safe during cold-weather exercise

Almost everyone can exercise safely during cold weather. But if you have certain conditions, such as asthma, heart problems or Raynaud’s disease, check with your doctor before you work out in cold weather. Your doctor can review any special precautions you need based on your condition or medications you might take.

The following tips can help you stay safe – and warm – while exercising in the cold.

Pay attention to weather conditions and wind chill

Before heading out, check the forecast for the time you’ll be outside. Temperature, wind and moisture, along with the length of time that you’ll be outside, are key considerations in planning a safe cold-weather workout.

The combination of wind and cold make up the wind chill index, which is commonly included in winter weather forecasts. Wind chill extremes can make exercising outdoors unsafe even if you dress warmly. The wind can penetrate your clothes and remove the insulating layer of warm air that surrounds your body, and any exposed skin is vulnerable to frostbite.

Although the risk of frostbite is less than 5 percent when the air temperature is above 5 F (minus 15 C), the risk increases as the wind chill falls. At wind chill levels below minus 18 F (minus 27 C), frostbite can occur on exposed skin in 30 minutes or less.

If the temperature dips below 0 F (minus 17.8 C) or the wind chill is extreme, consider taking a break or choosing an indoor exercise instead. Similarly, consider putting off your workout if it’s raining or snowing unless you have waterproof gear. Getting wet makes you more vulnerable to the cold. And if you get soaked, you may not be able to keep your core body temperature high enough.

Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia

Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite is most common on exposed skin, such as your cheeks, nose and ears, but it can also occur on hands and feet. Early warning signs include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation.

If you suspect frostbite, get out of the cold immediately and slowly warm the affected area – but don’t rub it since that can damage your skin. If numbness continues, seek emergency care.

Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Exercising in cold, rainy weather increases the risk of hypothermia, as does being an older adult.

Hypothermia signs and symptoms include intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue. Seek emergency help right away for possible hypothermia.

Dress in layers

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when exercising in cold weather is to dress too warmly. Exercise generates a considerable amount of heat – enough to make you feel like it’s much warmer than it really is. The evaporation of sweat, however, can make you lose heat from your body and feel chilled. The solution?

Dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed. First, put on a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin.

Next, add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer layer.

You may need to experiment before you find a combination of clothing that works well for you based on your exercise intensity. If you’re lean, you may need more insulation than someone who is heavier.
Keep in mind, too, that stop-and-go activities, such as mixing walking with running, can make you more vulnerable to the cold if you repeatedly work up a sweat and then get chilly.

(Above info.: Mayo Clinic)

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