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July 22, 2014
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Governor Cuomo provides important winter safety tips for preventing hypothermia, frostbite etc.

With frigid temperatures turning most of the Big Eddy into a field of ice, Governor Cuomo has issued tips for preventing hypothermia.


What is frostbite?

Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation.

What are the warning signs of frostbite?

At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin—frostbite may be beginning. Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:

A white or grayish-yellow skin area
Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy

Numbness

Note: A victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb.

What should I do if I see someone with warning signs of frostbite?

If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care. Because frostbite and hypothermia both result from exposure, first determine whether the victim also shows signs of hypothermia, as described previously. Hypothermia is a more serious medical condition and requires emergency medical assistance.

If (1) there is frostbite but no sign of hypothermia and (2) immediate medical care is not available, proceed as follows:

Get into a warm room as soon as possible.
Unless absolutely necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes—this increases the damage.
Immerse the affected area in warm—not hot—water (the temperature should be comfortable to the touch for unaffected parts of the body).
Or, warm the affected area using body heat. For example, the heat of an armpit can be used to warm frostbitten fingers.
Do not rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it at all. This can cause more damage.
Don't use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat of a stove, fireplace, or radiator for warming.
Affected areas are numb and can be easily burned.

Protect yourself when it is extremely cold