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Protecting your hands from frostbite

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) — As you head outside in these colder temperatures, you will want to take some extra precaution.

Lengthy exposure to the cold weather without the proper protection for your hands can increase your risk of getting frostbite. It can be as minor as frostnip, a little irritation to the skin, but in more severe cases, you can have ice crystals form on your hands, a reduction of blood flow and even tissue death.

Nick Eastman, the program manager of clinical services for Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance, said there are some common misconceptions about frostbite. “You do not want to use a stove or an oven [to warm your hands]. That is definitely something that you have heard about or seen. The problem with that is you may actually burn yourself without realizing it because you have a loss of sensation from the frostbite. You may come into contact with the hot metal or something and not even realize it and end up with some pretty severe burns,” said Eastman.

The best way to rewarm your hands after being outside in the cold is by getting into a warm environment. You should never dip a frostbit hand into hot water. If you have mild to moderate symptoms of frostbite, including discoloration of the skin, you can usually just see a health care professional instead of calling for an ambulance. In more severe cases where you potentially have hypothermia in addition to frostbite, call 911 immediately.

Allante Walker

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