Expert tips to ward off injuries, frostbite during freezing temps

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The freezing cold weather Colorado is seeing leaves lots of ice on the ground and that can be dangerous, but  doctors say there's an even higher risk once things warm up.

“We actually see a spike in injuries as the weather starts to warm up after a cold snap like this," said Dr. Jason Stoneback, director of orthopedic trauma at the University of Colorado Hospital. "I believe it's because people are hunkering down in their homes to avoid the weather then, when they emerge, we tend to see a spike in slips and twisting injuries.”

If you experience pain after slipping and falling, getting treatment sooner rather than later to reduce the risk of complications, suggested Stoneback.

He said there are signs for when an injury requires medical attention, such as “pain after a slip and fall that just doesn't seem to be getting better with management, meaning (anti-inflammatory medication), ice and rest" -- the same rule applies to any pain you experience after getting into a fender bender.

It's also important to be aware of the signs of frostbite.

“Sometimes you'll see blisters start to form and that's a latent sign," said Linda Staubli of the University of Colorado Burn Center. "(There’s) a tingling and if there are blisters you should seek medical attention.”

She also recommended wearing good snow boots with a strong sole with plenty of traction, and bundling up the kids with heavy coats, gloves, scarves and a hat to protect them from frostbite.

Here is more information from the University Of Colorado Hospital’s Burn Center:

Signs and symptoms:

  • Loss of feeling to exposed body parts
  • White or gray and waxy looking skin
  • Blistering

The Burn Center at UCH offers specialized treatment and expert care of frostbite victims that has prevented the loss of fingers and toes.

If you are showing signs and symptoms of frostbite, go to your doctor or the nearest emergency room immediately.

Tips for frostbite prevention:

  • Be prepared for winter weather by dressing appropriately in multiple loose layers of clothing with the top layer being wind proof and water repellant. The layers help trap air and keep you warm
  • Remove wet clothing as soon as possible.
  • Wear mittens instead of gloves as they offer better protection.
  • Limit the amount of time you are outdoors. Frostbite can occur within minutes on a day that is less than 20 degrees Fahrenheit with winds of 20 mph.
  • Do not drink alcohol if you will be outside on a cold day.
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