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Frostbite, hypothermia concerns in bitter cold

By Rana Novini, Anchor/Reporter, r.novini@krdo.com
Published On: Dec 04 2013 07:16:44 PM CST

The bitter cold isn't just uncomfortable, it can also be dangerous. Rana Novini reports on health concerns with southern Colorado's arctic freeze.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

For people who have to be outside during southern Colorado's bone-chilling temperatures this week, frostbite and hypothermia could be a concern.

Dr. John Torres, KRDO's medical expert, says those who are elderly or very young are particularly at risk, but frostbite can strike anyone.

Jessica Oso works for the United States Postal Service.  To combat the bitter cold during her walking mail-delivery routes in Colorado Springs, she's not afraid to bundle up.

"Thermals, pants, snow pants, long-sleeve shirt, a sweater, my bomber jacket, my scarf, two pairs of gloves and two pairs of socks just to stay warm," Oso described.  "Nice and warm!"

Erika Versalovic, a college student, was walking to class on Colorado College's campus on Wednesday.  Snow blanketed the top of her head and her eyelashes.

"I probably should have put on a hat and some gloves, but unfortunately those will have to wait until I get back to my house and get some," Versalovic said.  "The burning, stinging of your fingers is a little intense."

A few feet away, another college student seemed happy to be outside.  

"I put on my heavy-duty coat, got the furry hat and gloves," said Celia Palmer.  "I don't really mind as long as it's snowing. It's nice to walk around outside all bundled up."

Dr. John recommends that as soon as you feel any tingling in your fingers or toes, it's time to add more layers or take shelter.

"We're talking a matter of minutes you can go from nothing to frostbite," said Dr. John.

Dr. John also recommends that people avoid alcohol and tobacco because they can adversely affect your body's blood circulation, thus affecting your body's ability to regulate heat.

"If you start noticing a waxy white or pale color to your skin and it starts feeling very hard, then you want to see somebody quickly," Dr. John said.

You should also see a doctor if numbness and tingling do not go away after taking shelter.  

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