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December 29, 2017 06:18 PM

Preventing Frostbite

Sioux Falls

Much of the country is experiencing an arctic blast, including right here in KELOLAND. When temperatures drop, the risk of frostbite becomes real. 

Gary Wilson and his daughter Shannon are braving the snow and cold for some last minute shopping before heading home to Northeast, Iowa. 

"Well we dressed warm this morning, we got warmer clothes in the truck in case on the way home this turns into a blizzard or something. But we're pretty much ready for it," said Wilson. 

When temperatures take a nose dive, frostbite is a real concern. 

Sunday night into Monday morning temperatures are expected to plummet to 27 below zero. 

"The really young child is going to be a lot more vulnerable than the 21-year-old, that 70-year-old is going to be like that infant or toddler," said Paramedic Matthew Gruchow. 

Gruchow says it's a condition that sneaks up on you. 

"Cover your exposed skin, even if you're at the gas station, you can get what's called contact frostbite from really cold metal," Gruchow said. 

In the frigid cold, he says it only takes a few minutes for the frostbite to turn deadly.

"So you can have the minor sort of skin irritation where it gets red, it might be a little numb for a while, it might blanch, all the way to the other side of the spectrum where just like a burn, it goes through multiple layers of tissue and even down to the bone,"  said Gruchow. 

So bundle up and know when to call for help.  

"If it stays red, if you start to develop blisters or if you start to lose the feeling, in let's just say your hand, definitely time to call us or take yourself to the emergency room," said Gruchow. 

"Everything concerns me when temperatures drop this low. So you never know. We try to plan," Wilson said. 

Gruchow says hypothermia is also a concern with frigid temperatures. That happens when your body temperature falls below 95 degrees. 

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