Working In Freezing Temperatures

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-22 18:51:05-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- If you’re spending time outside, there are a few things you need to know to keep you and your family safe.

“You start by feeling the cold on your face and that’s where we typically see it with the skiers and the exposed skin,” Randall Duthler M.D., Family Practitioner said.

Doctor Duthler is family practitioners in Grand Rapids.  He says you have to be careful when you’re spending time outdoors in these freezing temperatures. When it’s cold outside, any exposed skin can create a serious problem when it comes to frostbite.

“It’s depends on the wind chill and it depends on how much skin exposure you have. It can be as little as 5-10 minutes. So you really have to go by what you’re feeling,” Duthler said.

If it starts to feel numb, make sure to warm up the area as soon as possible. Duthler says if the sensation doesn’t return within 10-15 minutes, it could have progresses into something serious.

“If you start to see continued numbness, or discoloration of the skin, blue color or hue to the skin, or when you just don’t see this pink color back, that would be a little more concerning,” Duthler said.

Herman Williams has been a mailman for the last 20 years, and says working in the snow is just something you get used to. He says he protects himself from the cold, by putting on plenty of layers.

“Being prepared for the day and having everything with you in the truck. So if you do get cold you have something else to put on. I’ve got another coat inside,” Williams said.

Herman says even if temperature is in single digits, he’s not going to let it slow him down.

“Nobody wants to be a mailman today. They are all envious of us in the summer time, but no one wants to do this in the winter time,” Williams said.

Duther also says to pay attention to what you’re body is telling you. If something doesn’t feel right, find a place to warm up as soon as possible.