Experts warn of frostbite dangers during dangerously cold temperatures

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Biting wind and miserable temperatures will grip the metro overnight and into Wednesday.

But the frigid air is much more than an inconvenience. It can be a major health concern if you're outside too long. If you have to go out, doctors say pay attention to what your body is telling you.

"If you start shivering -- cold hands hands feet, face, ears, nose -- make sure you get inside," said Dr. Aaron Kaus with St. Luke's emergency department.

He said if your skin starts to lose color, you're in the danger zone. Frostbite and hypothermia can happen in as little as 10-30 minutes.

Most people will be able to go inside to warm up, but sometimes it's not that easy.

"We make contact with people who have frostbite, things of that sort who are out in the elements for a very long time," Overland Park police spokesman John Lacy said. "We had to take them to the hospital. So our officers, they're very aware of these type of conditions."

People who work directly with the homeless say frostbite is a very real danger.

"We have one of the guys who stays here periodically. About six weeks ago (he) had all 10 of his toes amputated due to frostbite," said Barb McEver, founder of
Project 1020.

Emergency room doctors said they've already treated frostbite cases this winter. They said the key is to leave your house in layers, making sure you have a base layer that will wick moisture away from your skin. And if your clothes get wet, get inside and take them off as soon as possible.

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