Preventing frostbite during cold temps

By Evrod Cassimy – bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With every winter storm that hits the Commonwealth, the threat of frostbite has Richmonders bundling up.

"Wear at least like 2 layers of socks," said one resident. "Make sure you don't get your hands in water and then walk out in the cold. Layer up and not expose your skin to the cold."

Doctor Joe Mehfoud at Commonwealth Primary Care explains that the easiest thing to do to prevent from getting frostbitten this winter season is to exercise common sense.

"You need to pay attention to your body," said Mehfoud. "If you're body's telling you that it's cold you gotta get out of the cold. You've got to prevent over exposure."

And while frostbite can happen to anyone, Mehfound explains that people with diabetes, under the influence of alcohol, on medication or who are elderly are most at risk.

Burton Sundin, a plastic surgeon, has treated many people who have spent too much time in the cold. He's seen everything from mild cases to the very worst.

"In extreme cases of frostbite can often lead to having to do surgery to remove some of the bad tissue, the dead tissue," said Sundin.

Both doctors suggest rapid re-warming of the frostbitten limb as treatment, but avoid using hot water because it may do more damage. These are good things to keep in mind as we brace for below freezing temperatures.

(c) 2010. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.