Safety tips for ice and cold from an MU Health Care Physician

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COLUMBIA - Wet and freezing weather conditions are continuing to hit Missouri this weekend, increasing the likelihood of cold-related injuries.

Chris Sampson, M.D., an emergency physician with MU Health Care, says he often sees an influx of patients needing treatment for injuries during cold, icy weather.

Sampson recommends the following to prepare for ice:

  • Carry an extra blanket and coat in the car, in case you get stuck for a long period of time.
  • Always wear sturdy shoes with good treads to help avoid slipping.
  • Salt the driveway, steps and sidewalks early and often.
  • When walking your pet, be aware of where the leash is at all times to avoid tripping, and be mindful that your pet could pull, knocking you off balance.

When the temperature outside remains below freezing, the cold can cause injuries, too. 

“With frostbite people can start experiencing symptoms pretty rapidly," Sampson said. "With mild winds and cold temperatures it can occur in as less than 30 minutes, with extreme cases, when it's very very cold and winds are very very strong, sometimes frostbite can develop in as little as 5 minutes.”

Sampson said it is safe for kids to play outside, however, they need to dress in layers, keep their extremities covered and limit their time to no more than 30 minutes. He gives adults the same advice.

“If your kids are going to be outside playing, I would probably dress them in an additional layer of clothing so that way they can stay warm," Sampson said. "Make sure that they are bundled up with exposed areas covered, so hats to cover the ears, scarfs, and gloves also, so the fingertips are not exposed in the cold weather.”

A Winter Weather Advisory was in effect for Camden, Miller, and Maries counties through 10 a.m. Saturday where patchy freezing drizzle was possible.

This comes following another advisory Friday across portions of central, east central and northeast Missouri.

A Wind Chill Advisory remains in effect from Saturday 6 p.m. through noon on Tuesday. During this time, evening wind chills could fall 25 degrees below zero. Frostbite and hypothermia can occur for both people and pets if precautions are not taken. 

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