Expert tips to combat frostbite

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)-- BRRRR!!!

The temperatures are steadily falling, which means risk of frostbite is growing.

Experts say frostbite can set in within minutes of entering bitter cold weather. The most severe cases of frostbite can lead to loss of limbs if not addressed.

But there is a way to protect yourself.

"Most people don't take into account the temperature of the weather outside," physician Dr. Mary Franz said. "Which leads to people underdressing."

Dr. Franz says there are simple tips to prevent frostbite:

-Wear multiple layers of clothing
-Refrain from metal jewelry, which can freeze easily
-Cover your nose, ears and hands

If you think you have frostbite, Dr. Franz says these are the telltale signs:

-Numbness in fingers, toes, etc.
-Waxy appearance to the skin
-Skin that stings to the touch
-Skin that is slowly turning black

Once people realize they have signs of frostbite, many people run to either running their hands through hot water, or rubbing them together. Dr. Franz says that's a no-no.

"You should use warm water instead," she said.

Dr. Franz added once you see the signs of frostbite, immediately seek help. Doctors only have minutes to reverse the effects of frostbite.

"If you wait too long, then you are at risk for tissue damage," she said.

Dr. Franz is located at the University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus Family Medicine Center on 600 S. Jewel in Topeka.