Frigid temperatures mean increased frostbite danger

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- With temperatures nearing record lows the next few days emergency crews around the area want to remind you just how quickly this frigid cold could mean frostbite or worse.

“I don’t mind the cold it’s the snow I don’t like,” Frank Coronell said.

It’s set to be one for the record books Sunday into Monday and that has window washer Frank Coronell rushing to get work done Sunday before the cold sets in.

The cold meant many families in the Chippewa Valley turned to indoor activities Sunday. Inside the Eau Claire Children’s Museum it’s warm and toasty, and for parents it’s the perfect opportunity for kids to burn off a little energy.

“They are itching to go outside but we can’t go outside its freezing out there. It's a struggle to have them keep their hat and gloves and everything on,” Eau Claire mom Natasha Bryn said.

“People need to be prepared for the outdoor conditions. First, you want to make sure you want to minimize exposure as much as possible. Secondly, you want to make sure you are bundled up appropriately,” Eau Claire Emergency Management Coordinator Tom Hurley said.

Hurley says it’s plenty of extra layers that can make all of the difference when it comes to keeping fingers, toes and faces warm over the next few days.

“Some of the early symptoms of frost bite are fingers or the tip of your nose cheeks or chin will get red and very sore. Later stages they can become white or waxy and that's where it becomes concerning,” Mayo Clinic Health System Emergency Physician Susan Cullinan said.

Cullinan says if you're experiencing the first signs of frostbite, it’s important to get warmed up as soon as possible.

“It becomes more dangerous the longer it goes on the extremity becomes numb white gets to the point where you can’t feel anything and then it gets to the point where you might need amputation,” Cullinan added.

With more chilly temperatures in the forecast this week people we talked to say they have one thing in mind to stay safe and warm the next couple of days.

“We are definitely going to bunker down and stay inside as much as possible,” Angela Sommers said.

Cullinan says not all cases of frostbite require an E.R. visit but if you need to warm up, she says you should avoid putting cold fingers or toes in hot water, instead you should warm up gradually.