ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Two St. Louis hospitals have treated nearly a dozen frostbite cases from this week’s blast of arctic air.

Emergency rooms officials at Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis University Hospital say about 10 people have come in after being out in the cold, some for only minutes.

Dr. Laurie Byrne, Director of Emergency Medicine at Saint Louis University Hospital, said one man came in after trying to clear his windshield with his bare hands after realizing he didn’t have an ice scraper.

She said frostbite can occur after skin is exposed to the elements for 15 – 30 minutes, if you are wet it can happen even faster.

The Symptoms

Byrne said the initial sign that you might have frostbite is pain in the exposed extremities, like “the tip of the nose, the ears, and the finger tips.”

If that happens Byrne urges you to get inside quickly and start warming up. If the pain doesn’t go away and the frostbitten area changes from red to white, then seek medical attention.

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