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Parts of Dakotas and Minnesota doves up to -27 degrees F or lower this week, according to National Time Service. This is not just an embarrassment – such a kind of cold can be dangerous and even deadly, especially if you do not take precautionary measures on how long you are on the road and how you are clothed.
"I saw patients developing ozebline within about 10 to 15 minutes after they were exposed to extreme temperatures," says Dr. Jeff Schaider of NPRs Ari Shapiro. Everything is being considered, Schaider is Emergency Medical Officer at John H. Stroger Jr. in Chicago and Emergency Medical Manager at Health County.
Just a short walk away without a hat can give somebody a bump on the back of their unprotected ears, he says.
Skin fracture and tissue below it is the most common injury resulting from severe colds and usually occurs at the extremities of the body – fingers, legs, nose, ears, cheeks and chin.
Damaged skin White, waxy or greyish-yellow appears at first, says Schaider, is cold and stiff. Call your doctor if you notice these symptoms. If the condition is caught early, it is possible to prevent permanent damage. If not, the crap can progress and lead to the need for the team amputation.
An even more dangerous reaction begins when the internal body temperature is significantly reduced, in the state called hypothermia. In the beginning, when you are exposed to cold, Schaider says you will shake and it can be useful in trying to keep you warm. But as hypothermia progresses, your body is the response to the cold is actually diminishing.
"You'll stop shaking and then your body temperature will start to fall faster," he explains. The body becomes colder and moves slower. Your mind thinks slower. Your heart moves slower. And as time passes, he says, you become confused. You can go to the coma or even die.
So – how to protect the worst affected areas? First, to predict possible problems. Check local news sources for up-to-date weather warnings and stay in them if you do not absolutely have to leave. If you have to go out, wear layers of protection that match your activity level. (Cold weather at the Appalachian Mountain Club has some special tips.)
And if you go in a car, says Schaider, be sure to pack extra clothes, blankets, extra hat and extra gloves (the gloves are best) – in case something happens to your car.
Also, recognize that drinking alcohol can affect your judgment and your physiology, he says.
"People who go out and drink can walk out because they do not feel the effects of cold so much when they are drunk."
They can be exposed to cold for a long time than it is in cold conditions. she says, and their body temperature will start to fall.