TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - You literally have to brace yourself physically to walk outside in this cold. And for a very good reason: It's immediate effects on your heart and lungs are very demanding.
Promedica Dr. Patrick Bruss M.D. says he's seeing a lot of complications from upper respiratory infections directly related to the frigid temperatures, "As you get cold the body pulls the blood from your nose back into the body, so you don't have enough blood up in your nose to wash out the viruses that turn up in there."
In general the sub-zero temperatures are something to be really careful about regardless of your physical condition. "It's a thermodynamics problem, the second law of thermodynamics is that regardless of what happens you're going to lose heat," says Bruss.
That immediately taxes your body, so the best way to protect yourself is to not try to just stay warm, it's to avoid losing heat to begin with. You start by covering all exposed skin, staying dry and dress in layers.
"Eeveryone has one coat and that's all big and puffy which is all well and good but the more efficient way is with layers, and it's just like when you filter, each layer you put on is another layer that the heat has to go through to get out," says Bruss.
Frostbite has the same effects of a burn from heat, "When you get burned it kills the tissue from heat, same thing with frostbite, it kills the tissue but with extreme cold, so it presents the same way and it's treated the same way as a very bad burn. If it's bad enough where it's all the way down, you have part of your fingertips amputated but if it's not bad enough and with passive re warming, you should be just fine."
Bruss goes onto say that you should never run frostbite under extremely hot water. You can actually risk causing more damage because the blood returns to the area so fast. It can cause intense pain and slow recovery.