Dangerous freezing temperatures, doctors warn of frostbite - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

With dangerous freezing weather, frostbite can be minutes away

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The cold, frigid air has arrived and it's only going to get worse. Temperatures dropped into the single digits as we head into Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.

Doctors say it only takes a few minutes for tingling and numbness to set in if you are not careful in dangerous temperatures.

Chris Driggers stands outside 6-hours a day, working in the cold and freezing temperatures

"Jeans, thermals, sweats, two long sleeved shirts, two jackets and 2 pairs of gloves," said Driggers. Reporter: " It works?" Driggers: " yes, I'm warm."

It's no secret, he's kind of an expert at bundling up, still he's not looking forward to temperatures dropping down into the single digits.

"Just layer up...put on thermals, sweats, jeans what ever it takes," said Drigger.

Doctor Mark Crago tells Channel 3, not covering up your exposed skin can have serious consequences.

"It can be anywhere from something relatively simple to life threatening. It can be very complex.  People with severe frostbite can lose parts of their extremities. We almost treat them like a burn patients with the amount of skin that can be lost," said Dr. Crago, Memorial Ootlewah Imaging Center.

Frostbite symptoms include: numbness, tingling, blisters, swelling, redness, the loss of your mobility and / or the loss of your nervous system. Doctors say the damage can be done in just 15 minutes.

"We worry about people being exposed to cold whether especially those who are old and those who are young," said Dr. Crago.

Keeping children out of the chilling winds is one big reason why Hamilton County Schools and Cleveland City Schools are delaying their buses for 2-hours, Thursday morning.

"As we saw tonight was going to be very cold, blistering cold tomorrow morning ...you start worrying about kids standing out for the school bus," said Supt. Martin Ringstaff, Cleveland City Schools.

Ringstaff says students will have to stay indoors until outside temperatures are safe.

"No playground today or tomorrow we will keep them inside where it's warm.  We have gymnasiums and things like that to keep the kids busybut yea I don't think they will be going outside at all." said Ringstaff.

Another important note if you're outside working and feeling tired, doctors say it can be easy to lose track of time. Time is everything considering damage can be done to your skin within minutes if you are outside unprotected. Also certain medications, even alcohol can make our skin more sensitive to the freezing winds.

Some symptoms show right away while others can appear within hours or days after exposure. if you're experience numbing, clumsiness. or a burning sensation on any of your extremities that does not quickly go away with a warm up, you should see a doctor.

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