By Liz Collin

By Liz Collin, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Even before Friday’s cold snap, doctors said it has been one of the worst winters they’ve seen for frostbite.

Frostbite can even happen in temperatures in the 20s and with only 15-20 minutes of exposure.

“The pain is constant,” said James Green, who will be scarred from this winter for the rest of his life. “I knew right away something was wrong.”

On New Year’s Eve, Green said he was mugged and dumped in a snow bank. He wouldn’t wake up for six hours.

“We have a lot of snow and we have cold temperatures and I think the lot of snow is even more important,” said Dr. Anne Lambert, from the Hennepin County Medical Center.

For the last month, Hennepin County Medical Center has been treating a couple of frostbite cases each week.

One man got his car stuck and walked to find help. Doctors said he lost his skin from parts of his hands and knees.

It’s the same danger parents across the state worry about. Dozens of schools started late and parents in Minneapolis and Anoka had the option to keep their kids home because of the cold.

“I didn’t want her to be outside in the elements waiting for the bus,” said one dad.

But frostbite isn’t the only problem that comes with the cold. A frozen pipe broke and left the office in a high-rise under water.

A dip into a deep freeze is being felt by everyone and as Green says, it’s not a time to be taking any chances.

“There’s no time to look cute … there’s time to live and this winter is serious. The cold is harsh and it’s unforgiving,” he said.

Dr. Lambert warns that she sees a lot of people wearing finger-less gloves so they can be on the phone or text. But, she says people need to cover those exposed fingers with an extra pair of mittens in this kind of weather. If you’re seeing white or grey marks on your skin and that area is stiff it’s best to get it checked out.

Comments (2)
  1. GrandmaJ says:

    There are many of us who ‘deal with’ this sensory year round. It can be just as dangerous any time. The non-cold time of the year name is RAYNAUD’s. I was told year after year I had frozen my hands and feet. One year I went to see the Dr in Sept. Needless to say, off to Mayo I went. It is a cardio vascular issue that is often piggy-backed on auto immune issues. Mine are fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. So even in the house, it is as if I am outdoors without gloves. When the hands go from clear white, purple, red, blue–and you don’t stop the action, you have repercussions medically to deal with.
    Going out to clean up the snow, drive the car, etc involves a multiple selection of gloves and mittens to use. For those who do, It also means no caffiene, smoking either.
    Over all, the sensory leaves and does not return. Mishaps happen from water in shower to using the stove.

    1. marz says:

      I had Raynaud’s, but have eliminated the symptoms by taking CoQ10. Originally I started taking it as a supplement to my statin, to relieve muscle aches, and noticed the Raynaud’s disappeared as well. CoQ10 increases circulation, and can be purchased at any pharmacy over the counter. I now can drink caffeine and even hold frozen food bare-handed without a problem. It is definitely worth trying.

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