People are waking up to bitterly cold conditions in South Dakota. The combination of freezing temps and chilly wind gust could lead to a dreaded frostbite.
The best way to keep it from happening is simply don't go outside. But if you do have to venture into the brutal South Dakota winter, your best bet is to dress warm with multiple layers and a big coat. Make sure every possible inch of skin is covered, shielded from the wind.
For some of you in the coldest parts of the state this morning, frost bite can take only 10 minutes to set in. It happens when your tissue freezes.
If you notice your skin turning white, red or yellow, and itchy or painful you might have the first signs of frostbite and probably want to get to the hospital.
“We would much rather have you come in to the emergency department and have you be checked out and have us tell you, 'Hey, you look okay. Here’s what you need to do at home,' rather than trying to treat that at home and wind up with a bigger problem later on,” Dr. Benjamin Aaker with Sanford Health said.
Making sure you have a hat on when it’s this cold is also a good idea because you can lose up to 40 percent of your body heat through your head.
With these brutal temperatures, it can also only take minutes for hypothermia to take over. That’s why Aaker says dressing right can make all the difference, but even if you're stuffed like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story," hypothermia can still set in.
“If you are shivering and you are still in your big outfit, your big coat, then you need to get inside somewhere warm right away. But after that, the shivering can kind of go away and people can kind of start acting unusual or acting kind of funny. And you as a person who's starting to get hypothermia may not even notice it,” Dr. Aaker said.
He says if you have to be outside, it’s best to be with someone else so if something were to happen, they could call for help or get you to the hospital.