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Doctors offer tips for protecting yourself in frigid weather

By Kimberly Davidow, Reporter
Published On: Jan 23 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 25 2013 04:35:22 AM CST

The cold temperatures are uncomfortable. They can also cause injuries to your body.

WYOMISSING, Pa. -

With the below freezing temperatures and wind chills, Mother Nature certainly has been acting cold the past few days.

"As the temperatures drop and individuals wish to stay warmer, they do need to be careful," said Dr. Rory Tucker,  a family practitioner at Reading Health System's Berkshire Quickcare.

The most common injuries people can endure in this weather are wind burn and frost nip, Tucker said.

"Our skin is releasing heat and the wind itself is cooling the skin, causing a lot of times this wind burn, which itself can lead to the frost nip and redness," said Tucker.

If not treated properly, Tucker said frost nip can turn into frost bite, a more severe skin irritation condition, as well as blisters on the skin. To avoid getting to that point, Tucker explained there are ways you can prevent yourself from being exposed to such injuries.

The most important thing one should do is wear layers of clothing that will protect the skin from exposure to the cold.

"A hat, a great way to retain your core temperature and cover the ears at the same time. A scarf can cover the skin, wrapped around, and it could even cover the nose and certainly gloves," said Tucker.

If your hands are cold, do not run them under hot water because it will irritate the skin, Tucker said. Also, do not initially place your hands in front of a heater.

"They're now heating the outer layers, but not necessarily the inner layers," said Tucker.

Drinking excessive alcohol should also be avoided.

"It will cause the superficial blood vessels to warm the skin to dilate and become larger. They now are losing heat more quickly," said Tucker.

Moisturizing your body's skin and lips is a great way from keeping your skin from becoming dry and chapped.

"As the wind whisks away the heat, it's also taking the moisture from the skin with it," said Tucker.