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Health Minute: Frostbite

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WPSU’s Health Minute is a collaboration with Penn State’s Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing.

Winter is a time for outdoor activities, which brings the risk of frostbite. Frostbite occurs when skin and underlying tissues freeze. Vulnerable areas include fingers, toes, ears, cheeks, nose and chin.

Your risk of frostbite is higher if you do not dress properly, stay out in the cold too long, use alcohol or drugs, or are a young child or older adult. Early signs include coldness and numbness, mottling of skin color that changes to red, white, or purple and clumsiness of extremities.

Treatment involves the removal of wet clothing, seeking a warm shelter, and reducing pain with a pain reliever.

Protect yourself this winter by dressing correctly and limiting outside activities when it is cold. For more information visit

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Emily Reddy is the news director at WPSU-FM, the NPR-affiliate public radio station for central and northern Pennsylvania.