The Dangers of Frostbite

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

The region's recent bitterly cold temperatures may pose a threat to people outside.

Officials are reminding residents of the danger of contracting frostbite, even if they’re outside for a short period of time. Frostbite affects parts of the body like ears, fingers, and toes, which are often exposed to the cold.

Frostbitten extremities may feel numb and have a yellow or grey coloration. If left untreated, frostbite can lead to amputation.

Rapid City Fire Department Lt. Jim Bussell says the best way to avoid frostbite is to always dress for the cold, even if you don't plan on being out for long.

“If you're going to go out in these temperatures, whether that's driving from home to work, you need to be prepared,” Bussell says. “If your vehicle breaks down, if you get in an accident, or if you become stranded, you need to make sure you have to provisions in place to make sure that you are not going to be exposed to the cold temperatures.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, those with frostbite should warm their hands around a warm - not hot - heat source. Those affected should also refrain from rubbing the frostbitten area, because it may cause severe skin and nerve damage.

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