Prevent frostbite in frigid temperatures

LINCOLN, Neb. – Temperatures were slightly warmer Thursday but still below freezing. This means any skin exposed to the cold for several minutes can get frostbite.

"Frostbite is a thermal injury to the tissues, what you see is numbness and tinging to those fingers, toes, noses, ears," said Esther Rathjen, a nurse specialist at St. Elizabeth.

She said the hospital see's a few cases of frostbite each year but hasn't had any so far this season. Bryan Health said they also haven't had any cases of frostbite this season.

Burn Physician Ed Rivera said there are four degrees of frost bite people should watch out for. The first degree is stinging or burning on the skin. The second is clear blisters, these can develop up to 24 hours after exposure. The third degree is blood blisters and the last is when the tissue turns black.

"You should be at the hospital before you see black," said Rathjen.

She said your best bet if you have a concern is to see a doctor because they can unfreeze the tissue and reverse some damage to prevent amputation.

Rathjen said how quickly frostbite can happen varies from person to person.

"Dabetes can be a predisposing factor, just things that affect the circulation also your alcohol intake so with New Year's Eve coming up and people liking to show off in their dresses we really can be risky," she said.

She also said the best thing people can do is try and prevent it.

"Warm hats,warm gloves, warm clothing, dress in layers but if you start to get cold and notice numbness and tingling get inside immediately," she said.