PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The bitterly cold weather is dangerous for turtles and people too. Being outside in this frigid blast can cause a number of medical problems.
Scientist have calculated when the wind chill is subzero, it takes less than an hour for it to impact our health.
It might look pretty but being outside at the Philadelphia Museum of Art or anyplace else in the region is dangerous.
With a subzero wind chill, Frostbite can set in if you’re outside for just 30 minutes.
It’s most common on exposed skin and usually happens to the fingers, nose, toes and face.
“Ultimately you can lose fingers, digits or extremities,” Dr. Tom Waters explained. “Often times, the damage is more severe than it appears to be initially.
Symptoms of frostbite include pain in the affected area, as well as discoloration of the skin.
“You actually get freezing of the water in the soft tissue and it causes damage on a microscopic and a macroscopic level,” Dr. Waters said.
Doctors say being wet increases the dangers for cold weather injuries.
“It conducts heat thirty times faster than air,” Dr. Waters explained. “So, once you get wet, you’re really susceptible to either a hypothermia injury or a frostbite injury.”
Hypothermia happens when the body temperature gets dangerously low.
The elderly, those with chronic illness, and people who spend a lot of time outdoors are most at risk.
Shivering and confusion are common symptoms.
When left untreated, hypothermia can eventually damage vital organs and become deadly.
“Prevention is the key for both hypothermia and frostbite,” Dr. Waters said. “You need to make sure you wear appropriate clothing; stay dry; keep covered up; keep your extremities covered. Also, cover your face when its very cold out.”
People with symptoms of hypothermia or frostbite should get inside, get dry and gradually warm up. Severe cases will require medical attention.