Health officials are recommending that Nebraskans stay indoors and avoid travel if at all possible. This deep freeze will last a few days and emergency rooms are preparing for hypothermia cases. University of Nebraska Medical Center Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine Dr. Eric Ernest says it is extremely hard to bundle up enough to protect you from the elements.
Dr. Ernest says, “When you get to negative 35, negative 40 with wind chill, really 10 to 20 minutes of exposure of any kind of exposed skin you can start to incur a frostbite injury. Unless you have no skin exposed, very thick, insulated work type materials and clothing, you could probably be out there for a short time but I would encourage most people, unless you absolutely had to be out in this to stay inside.”
If you start to see a frostbite injury, get indoors. Dr. Ernst says signs include redness and pain. the skin could also turn white or grayish-yellow and feel unusual. Black areas indicate the skin has died and surgery is required. Any time you experience these symptoms you should see a doctor.
Exposure or hypothermia is another concern. If someone spent too much time outdoors and show symptoms of exhaustion, confusion, slurred speech, drowsiness or fumbling hands should seek emergency medical help.
Dr. Ernest says they are especially worried about the homeless population. They are also worried about those who have been drinking. Alcohol can numb the senses and not feeling what they should normally feel. They tend to see a good number of those individuals who don’t realize they have been exposed as long as they have or were found passed out outdoors.