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Depending on how cold it is and how hard the wind is blowing, frostbite can set in after just five minutes.
Frostbite — a condition in which your body is literally freezing — starts with red or white skin; a stinging, prickling, burning feeling; or numbness. If you’re out with exposed skin and feel these symptoms, stop what you’re doing and get someplace warm immediately.
Once inside, change into dry clothing and submerge the affected areas in warm water. Don’t use hot water. If you’re numb, you may not be able to feel the heat and could easily burn yourself. If you think you have frostbite, head to an emergency room right away.
Bad things can happen if you leave frostbite unchecked. Emergency room personnel can warm you up safely and can determine how extensive the frostbite is.
The best-case scenario, of course, is to avoid frostbite altogether. Take these steps before you head out in frigid temperatures:
Edward-Elmhurst Health Emergency Departments (EDs) located in Elmhurst and Naperville, and a freestanding emergency center in Plainfield, combine modern technology with comfort and care. Get locations and wait times.
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