The Dangers of Frostbite and How to Prevent It

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Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


         This past week has seen many days of bone-chilling single-digit and below temperatures in the Metro area. More of the same is expected in the next few weeks. The University of Kansas Health System reports 10 patients treated for frostbite, mostly of the hands and feet.

            In the video, Dr. Dhaval Bhavsar, with the Burnett Burn Center at The University of Kansas Health System, explains why extreme cold is just as bad as extreme heat for the skin, and why frostbite patients are typically treated at a burn center. He says even a 15 to 30-minute exposure to cold temperatures is enough to cause serious injuries, mostly to hands and feet. He describes the symptoms of frostbite and how to know when to seek help, and more importantly, what NOT to do if you think you have it. He also offers advice on how to avoid frostbite.

            Also included are interviews with two patients brought in to the burn unit for frostbite treatment. Quinn Triplett describes his ordeal on New Year’s Eve as a homeless man when the temperature plunged below zero. He knew about the possibility of frostbite but says he never expected it would happen to him. He says the staff is doing everything possible to save his fingers. The other patient is Claude Blacksure. He found himself having to walk a great distance back to his home after being dropped off at a friend’s house…only to find out the friend wasn’t home. He describes how he coped with blistering and swelling hands during his long walk and how he’s hoping doctors can get the circulation back in his fingers.