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Despite double-digit temperatures on the horizon, experts still want you to cover up

Frostbite, hypothermia still risks as temps warm

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – As temperatures warm up from the first major cold snap of the season, medical experts are still reminding people to cover up.

According to Dr. Tyler Stepsis, chief of emergency medicine at Eskenazi Health, just because double-digit temps are in sight doesn’t mean the dangers of cold weather are gone. He says frostbite and hypothermia are still a risk, especially for older adults, children, and people who spend a lot of time outdoors.

The colder it is, the quicker those two may set in. So, for people who may work outside in the cold for extended periods, there is still a chance for those dangerous conditions to develop.

Symptoms of frostbite include skin tingling, numbness, and changing color. In more severe cases it can cause blisters.

For hypothermia, symptoms include shivering, confusion, slurred or mumbled speech, drowsiness or exhaustion, and slow, shallow breathing.

Stepsis says as temperatures hover near the 30s, people still need to dress warmly when they head outside.

“Depending on how long you’re outside, that can lead to a problem even at those milder temperatures,” Stepsis said. “You’re still exposing yourself to an environment where you could potentially freeze the water inside those cells and cause death.”

When it comes to frostbite, if a person’s skin still feels “off” after a reasonable time of warming up inside, Stepsis urges them to seek medical treatment.

Other safety tips from Eskenazi Health include drinking plenty of warm beverages, using certified space heaters and fireplaces, and avoiding overworking, alcohol, and caffeine.

Stepsis says that every winter, the Eskenazi ER sees about 20 to 50 people for frostbite and 100 to 150 people for hypothermia.