The Dangers of Frostbite and How to Prevent It

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Bob Hallinan

Executive Producer

Office: (913) 588-7284

Cell: (913)-481-7329

Email

newsmedia@kumc.edu

         This week residents in the Metro area will see several days of bone-chilling single-digit and below temperatures. The Burnett Burn Center at The University of Kansas Health System is prepared to treat patients for frostbite. The medical staff expects the frostbite injuries to be mostly on the hands and feet.

            In the video, Dr. Dhaval Bhavsar, with the Burnett Burn Center, 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 10 to 15-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 explains why rapid re-warming can be just as dangerous and he offers advice on how to avoid frostbite. Those tips include:

  • Don’t be outside when it’s below 20 degrees if you can avoid it
  • Dress in as many layers as possible
  • Wear protective clothing such as gloves, hats, socks and shoes or boots meant for the cold
  • Avoid getting hands and feet wet

            Also included is file b-roll inside of the Burnett Burn Center and Interventional Radiology, showing former patients being treated for frostbite.