Frigid temperatures can lead to frostbite in matter of minutes

Weather

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — With bitterly cold wind chills in place, frostbite can occur quickly on exposed skin.

On days like this, you need to be extra careful if you’re going to be outside…even if it’s for just a few minutes.

With wind chill values dropping as low as minus 30 to 40 at times, frostbite can occur in as little as 10 to 15 minutes on exposed skin. This makes frost bite a real and serious concern for anyone that must be outside.

Here are the four degrees of frostbite severity, ranging from your skin’s surface freezing to severe pain and discoloration of your skin. Two additional telltale sign of early frostbite is the formation of ice crystals on your skin and your skin feeling warm even when it has yet to defrost.

If you see any signs of frostbite, get inside immediately and remove any cold or wet clothing. Wrap up in a blanket and drink something warm like soup, tea or hot chocolate. Caffeine and alcohol will not help here, as the former constricts your blood vessels even more and the latter prevents your body from shivering to keep warm.

If you have frostbite, get inside and take these steps to warm the affected areas up gradually. Avoid direct heat sources like heating pads or fireplaces, as this can lead to burns forming and end up doing more harm than good.

At the end of the day, if you must be outside during this kind of weather, cover up as much as you can and take all necessary precautions. Otherwise, stay inside, stay safe, and stay warm.

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