SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Having to worry about frostbite is normally not a concern in the ArkLaTex, but with the recent frigid winter weather, now is the time to make sure you are prepared if you go outside.
"It's an exciting event down here," said Dr. Chris Wolcott, a physician with Urgent Care of Louisiana. "It [winter weather] rarely happens, so people are going to spend prolonged times in it."
As families who may not be used to cold temperatures take advantage of days off from school, Wolcott said the first stages of frostbite can quickly appear after spending little time outside.
"When the temperatures are below 40, some of the symptoms can on-set within 20 to 30 minutes," said Wolcott.
Wolcott said the initial stage of frostbite includes a numbness and tingle in the extremities. Although seemingly harmless, failing to seek warmth soon after could result in further injury.
"Stage four is a very deep freeze into the muscles, tends, bones and ligaments," said Wolcott. "That can result in full amputation."
As you go about your day in the very cold weather, Wolcott has tips on ways to prevent frostbite.
"Take breaks, go inside and warm up," said Wolcott. "Get the feeling back in your fingers and toes and try and stay dry as well as warm."
Wolcott said those most at risk for developing frostbite include kids, elderly people, the homeless and those with mental illnesses or disabilities.
If you do have to spend time outside, Wolcott said the more layers you've got on, the better. He suggests wearing thermal underwear, a fleece, parka, waterproof boots, a hat and gloves.