Frostbite sets in fast in frigid temperatures - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Frostbite sets in fast in frigid temperatures

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

After running out of gas along Interstate 94, Amber Segler went straight to Hennepin County Medical Center.

"Three hours later, I just started crying. I couldn't bend my toes -- nothing," Segler recalled.

Once she was finally out of her tennis shoes and soaking in luke-warm water, doctors told her she suffered early stage frostbite, also known as frostnip.

"Warm bath right away if you notice things don't really pink up and toes don't seem to warm up then you are in trouble and you need to be seen right away," recommended Dr. Ryan Fey, with HCMC's Burn Unit.

Thankfully, Segler was treated before her toes turned to black or started to blister. In frigid temperatures like those seen in recent days, frostbite can set in within 10-15 minutes. Doctors can prevent permanent damage by getting the area thawed out and using some clot busting medicine.

"But we only have about a 6 hour window to do that," cautioned Fey. "We have to get them pretty soon. By doing so, we have done well at minimizing amputations and reducing tissue loss."

That's why home remedies are not encouraged. Between 30 and 40 people come to HCMC each season with frostbite, but very few were admitted within the last couple of days. Doctors say they believe that's because people are taking the dangerous cold seriously; however, Fey believes more people will head to area hospitals in the next few days after they attempting quick fixes at home.

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