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Joe Poelker
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Release Date: 1/7/2014

Freezing temperatures puts everyone at risk for frostbite

Blistered hands

Just minutes of exposure to freezing temperatures are enough to cause blistering.

The dangerous freezing temperatures are bringing cases of frostbite to St. Anthony’s Medical Center and its urgent care centers. One man’s case serves as a harsh reminder of just how quickly frostbite can set in.

Dr. Joseph Homan treated the 55-year-old man at St. Anthony’s Lemay Urgent Care Center. The patient told Dr. Homan he was wearing gloves when he shoveled snow on Sunday, but on Monday, he neglected to wear gloves when he took out some trash cans. The minutes of exposure to the freezing temperatures were enough to cause blistering on his hands (see photo). More extreme frostbite damage can lead to amputation.

Dr. Homan points out: exposure of bare skin is not the only threat. Wearing wet gloves or other clothing can lead to frostbite because the wet clothing can quickly freeze and transfer the cold temperature to your skin. It is important to keep your gloves and other clothing dry. If you have to be outside, bring more than one pair of gloves so you can change into a dry pair when needed.

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