Tips to avoid frostbite, hypothermia in cold conditions – WAOW

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) — As the temperatures drop, officials are saying to bundle up.
When the temperature drops below zero, frostbite can set in within five to fifteen minutes.
Layering up and wearing insulated materials helps you stay warm.
For frostbite, if you start to have tingling, go inside and warm up.
You can use a warm towel to warm up slowly, but do not use hot water.
If you begin to have numbness or discoloration, you should be seen by a medical professional.
“Sometimes it sneaks up on you. Some people think ‘Oh it doesn’t feel that cold out right now’ but if you’re outside for too long, in cold conditions, you can develop that frostbite rather quickly,” Jackson Garlock, StormTrack 9 Meteorologist, said.
With hypothermia, the first sign is obvious: you’ll feel cold.
Then you’ll start shivering uncontrollably.
If that happens, you need to get inside or go someplace to warm up.
As it gets worse, it can start to impact a person’s brain function.
“So if you’re outside with somebody else and they’re complaining of being cold, you’re still out there doing whatever activity and now all of a sudden, they’re not starting to act appropriately, definitely seek medical attention. Call 911 and try to get them in a warm environment,” Shane Westphal, Firefighter/Paramedic with Stevens Point Fire Department, said.
It’s also important to eat if you’re going to be outside.
If you don’t eat or drink enough, you can get colder faster.
Also note how long you’ve been outside in those temperatures.
Phil Skoug, Battalion Chief with the Merrill Fire Department, said it doesn’t take very long to be out in the cold temperatures to get frostbite or hypothermia.
“Even a short term exposure to temperatures like we’re having right now could have some sort of effect on those that are either elderly, the younger folks such as babies and things like that. Dressing them warm and appropriately is the biggest thing,” Skoug said.
Skoug added that a majority of heat loss is either through the extremities or head, so wearing a hat or gloves is very important.
Westphal said that checking in on those that are unable to leave their home to make sure their heat is working properly and that they are okay is also a good idea.
Have any story ideas? You can send them to jhenschel@waow.com 
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