Doctor warns of frostbite dangers as bitter temps grip central Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS — Freezing temperatures aren’t letting up in central Indiana, and it’s proving to be a dangerous situation.

Doctors at Eskenazi Health say they are seeing frostbite patients on a daily basis.  

“In general, frostbite is one of those things that can sneak up on you,” said Dr. Tyler Stepsis, chief of emergency medicine at Eskenazi Health. “Initially, those digits or those limbs are might feel a little heavy, feel a little numb and that can quickly progress to things like blisters.”

When this extreme cold took over, Dr. Stepsis’ staff started seeing frostbite cases every single day, sometimes up to 10 a day.

Most cases have been mild, but unfortunately there have been amputations.

 “The hard part is we have people that are missing fingers, hands , hands at the wrist, feet at the ankle, that kind of stuff. Once you get irreversible damage, there’s not much you can do,” explained Stepsis.

Kids, elderly and the homeless population are most at risk for frostbite.

At Wheeler Mission, the director tells us thankfully they haven’t had any frostbite cases. They’ve been doing what they can to get people off the streets. This week they’ve seen a 30% increase in the people staying there.

“Paying attention to your body. Paying attention to your environment and making sure you stay warm whenever possible is important,” advised Dr. Stepsis.

Your fingers, toes, nose and ears are places more prone to get frostbite.

Dr. Stepsis reminds Hoosiers staying dry is just as important as staying warm 

“I think a lot of us have been out shoveling snow for at least for a couple days now. It’s easy to get sweaty despite not feeling hot. So checking your under clothing, checking the clothes that are most close to your skin on a regular basis is really important, and something I think that is undervalued.”

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