KETTERING, Ohio (WDTN) – Hospitals in our area are treating patients for frostbite, two so far at Miami Valley and Kettering Health Network treated nine cases of frostbite from 6 p.m. Tuesday night until 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. It’s going to get colder, but the doctors and nurses at Kettering Medical Center are ready.
It doesn’t take long. Dr. Stephen Enseleit, the ER Medical Director at Kettering Medical Center says, “The most important thing is when it’s this cold, especially with the windchill, is protecting any surface skin.”
He says the last time there was a polar vortex most of the patients he saw “had to work outside or went outside just for a few minutes to do a job but didn’t cover their hands or that sort of thing.”
Dr. Enseleit says frostbite could set in in just 5-10 minutes, causing serious tissue damage that could eventually lead to amputation.
“Frostbite is a freezing of that tissue. So, it’s usually going to affect the hands. Typically, it’s not something that will be life-threatening but it’s certainly digit-threatening or that sort of thing.”
Another threat is hypothermia, when the entire body chills. “As the whole core temperature decreases, that person to get more confused, could get tired.”
Anyone affected should get help from a doctor immediately, especially if they’re at-risk like the elderly or homeless. “If you don’t have a place to go or your heater’s not working, then those are certainly the more at-risk populations.”
Dr. Enseleit says not every case of frostbite requires amputation. There are many cases they are mild, and people can make full recoveries.