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Burn unit director offers tips to prevent frost bite in arctic cold conditions

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — With temperatures dropping below zero over the weekend, FOX31 Problem Solvers spoke to the director of Swedish Medical Center’s burn and reconstruction team about tips to avoid frost bite.

Anytime temperatures drop below 32 degrees, Dr. Benson Pulikkottil prepares for frost bite patients.

“It’s about a 100% chance of that,” Pulikkottil said referring to this weekend. “There are some things we can do to help potentially prevent or decrease the amount of frost bite a patient can have.”

Pulikkottil says wearing a mask can be helpful while outside in blistering cold conditions.

“Wind can cause burns to your lips, to your face so protection with the mask, especially a thicker cloth mask, is beneficial,” Pulikkottil said.

Before going outside, he says it is best to layer up. According to the doctor, several layers of loose clothes can act as insulation. He also recommends wearing moisture-wicking and waterproof clothes to avoid getting wet.

“The second you get wet, that can be from sweat, you really should make sure to change out of wet clothes because that’s a bad formula for getting frost bite and the complications of it,” he said. “Early signs of frost bite are you have pale skin, you have pain, numbness, you want to seek shelter at that point.”

Pulikkottil discourages drinking alcohol and going out in the cold as it can prevent blood flow. He also recommends drinking extra water to stay hydrated.

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