DENVER -- Bitter cold temperatures are expected for New Year's Festivities Thursday night and there are steps anyone celebrating outdoors should take to prepare.
“These are the sorts of temperatures where we will see frost nip, hypothermia, and frostbite,” explained Dr. Ahmed Stowers, medical director for Porter Adventist Hospital. He says this is especially true when a person adds celebratory drinks into the mix.
“After a few beers you saw ‘Aw I’m doing okay. I have that warm feeling.’ And that sensation that I am warm when I’m actually losing a lot more heat,” Dr. Stowers added. It’s like one’s own body is playing a trick on them.
“You’re going to have more dilation of those peripheral vessels. So your skin is going to feel warmer than what you actually are. You’re actually going to lose more heat,” he added. This in turn can cause the body temperature to drop and ultimately cause a person to become hypothermic.
Even if alcohol isn’t part of the picture, individuals can still put themselves at risk for frostbite.
The process doesn’t take very long. With the temperature expected to dip to a chilly 10 degrees, a person can start to see the first signs of frostbite in about 30 minutes.
“If you look at your hands, neck, face structures. You can lose a lot of heat. Those areas can get frostbite even though you’re hypothermic, you can still have frostbite injury,” Dr. Stowers explained.
There’s are symptoms to watch for. Frostbite starts with a cold, prickly feeling. Then there’s numbness where the skin color will change to red, white or even blue. The skin will get a waxy look and in extreme cases, blister will start to form.
Dr. Stowers say if a person starts to shiver, or his or her fingers start to feel numb, then what he or she did to prepare for the cold weather is not enough and at that point should consider moving to a place to warm up.AlertMe