With the recent wave of frigid temperatures highlighting Denver weather, it is important to keep warm and cover up exposed skin when the temperatures dip below freezing and especially below zero. The people of Denver are warned to protect themselves from frostbite because when the wind chill gets blow minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit, that is frostbite can occur in minutes.
Many people think wearing just a hoodie or sweater is enough when the mercury barely hovers around zero in Denver. Those venturing outside should dress in layers to prevent from freezing and frostbite. Signs of frostbite are numb fingertips or ears that are pale and stiff to the touch. If you may have frostbite, experts advise that you soak your hand in a tub of lukewarm water and let it soak for 20 minutes and then towel dry. Do not apply it to any cold or hot objects or water. After towel drying, stay inside and keep warm.
Bring in outdoor pets as cold and wet temperatures that put us at risk of frostbite will definitely be extremely uncomfortable for animals. When taking out dogs, be sure to not stay out for more than 20 minutes in freezing Colorado weather and put sweaters or jackets on short haired dogs as their fur is equivalent to a cotton t-shirt on humans. Paws are also more susceptible to freezing and burn from deicing salt. Either put on dog booties or get a toxic-free wax or balm to put onto their paws. Once pets come back inside, wipe off their paws to get rid of any salt and ice that may be stuck.
There are four degrees of frostbite and the first begins with “frostnip,” which is the onset of itching and pain while the skin develops patches of white, red and yellow; then it becomes numb. The Fourth degree is when muscles, blood vessels, nerves and tendons all freeze and the skin feels hard and waxy because the skin is dying off in order to protect the core. Purplish and black blisters appear and nerve damage occurs. In extreme cases deep frostbite may result in amputation.
Denver weather can be very harsh at this time of year, especially with a fierce wind chill. Wear hats, gloves and scarves while limiting the amount of time that you and your pet spend outside.