FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — It’s been years since Arkansans have seen this much snowfall, and families are already getting outside to have some winter fun. If you choose to get outside to enjoy it, you want to do it safely.
Fayetteville Public Health Officer, Dr. Marti Sharkey says because people are excited to go out in the snow and outdoors they might stay out longer than they should. Adding that it doesn’t take long for cold temperatures to cause injury to your body especially to those sensitive areas like your fingers, toes, nose and ears.
Before heading outdoor, be sure to not only check the temperature but the wind chill because that can make it feel much colder outside and you want to dress appropriately.
Be sure to wear your hat, scarf, gloves, and coat. She also recommends wearing layers of clothing, in general, to protect your body from the cold temperatures. She says not taking the proper precautions can lead to frostbite.
“When your cold your skin is going to be red but when it’s a frostbite you’re going to start losing the color. So if the tip of your nose is looking white you’ve been out way to long and we need to get you inside,” said Sharkey.
When you get back inside, immediately remove your wet clothes and warm up. If you get frostbite, you want to put warm water or a warm towel on the affected area. If you experience severe symptoms like blisters, burning, swelling get to a doctor.
Her advice is with 15 to 20 degrees, 30 minutes is a safe estimate for how long you should stay out playing in the snow at a time.
Another thing to keep mind is sledding safely. Sharkey says some of the biggest winter injuries come from sledding accidents. She adds in some cases those accidents lead to severe brain injuries.
That’s why she recommends folks to protect themselves when hitting the slopes.
“If you have a ski helmet that is preferable but at least a bicycle helmet when your sledding. You will go faster on that sled than you do on a bike.”
Dr. Sharkey adds when sledding you want to do it in a spacious, open field. Make sure it is clear of light poles, trees, cars, fences, anything you could hit at high speed.
You also want to check the area for rocks and ice. She says you want to basically sled only on snow. When it comes to pulling a sled with your car, her advice is just don’t do it. Someone can seriously get hurt.