MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- Freezing temperatures and wind chills can be a cause for concern, if you are outside too long and not dressed for the weather.
“You could go outside on a cold, windy day and you could get frostbit within 30 seconds,” says Dr. Apple Bodemer, UW Health.
Dr. Bodemer explains that frostbite is a real concern during Wisconsin winters, and that frostnip is even more common.
“Probably a lot of kids on the playground might have a little bit of that going on today even if they’re outside for any significant time without appropriate clothing,” she says.
Frostnip is something most Wisconsinites have experienced from time-to-time, when your skin is a bit red, irritated, feels cold and sometimes like “pins and needles.” Frostbite, by contrast, will start to turn the skin gray or yellow with a waxy texture.
“It starts by being kind of painful. Your skin can actually feel like it’s burning in the early stages, and it can feel like pins and needles, is something we hear. Once you lose that it and it starts to go numb, that’s when things are getting to a really dangerous situation,” Dr. Bodemer tells NBC15 News. “If you actually have numb fingers or numb toes, that’s the time when you need to stop and say, ‘I need to take care of myself and get somewhere warm.’’”
In addition, Dr. Bodemer says those most susceptible to frostbite are people with diabetes or peripheral vascular disease, young children, or those that exercise and sweat in the cold temperatures.
“This is a dangerous time. This is time when you’re going to be outside, be well-prepared,” she says.
That means make sure to keep exposed skin covered if you have to go outside, and dress in layers if possible.