Keeping Safe in the Cold - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Keeping Safe in the Cold

Addie Olson


The National Weather Service issues wind chill advisories for a reason.

"With the windchill being what it is, it's not a lot of time that you have outside if you have exposed skin before frostbite starts to set in," said Aubry Wilkins of the National Weather Service.

Dr. Tom McCauliff at Mercy Medical Center said frostbite can set in quickly.

"On a windy, very, very cold day your temperature can begin to drop almost immediately," McCauliff said.

Dr. McCauliff has a couple of different tools he uses on frostbite and hypothermia patients.

"Sometimes we'll take bags of saline, this is basically just common water that we use, or salt water that we use, get a lot of these warmed and we'll put them around them, cover them with them," he said.

If you're at home trying to treat frostbite, McCauliff advises warming the person up slowly, and calling a doctor immediately.

"Make sure they're breathing and all of the vital things are doing their job and then get them warm," he said. "At home, get the cold away from them, get them warm and get them to medical services."

The best way to treat frost bite or hypothermia is preventing it altogether.

"If your fingers are tingling and you're shivering, your body's telling you that you are not prepared to be where you are. You need to get out of that area, get warm, and rethink where you need to be," McCauliff said.


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