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UCHealth is seeing an increase in frostbite cases in the Denver area.

UCHealth is seeing an increase in frostbite cases in the Denver area.


DENVER — As cold weather returns to the Denver area, UCHealth reports an increase in frostbite cases, reminding residents how quickly exposure to cold can cause problems.

The hospital reported Sunday that there have been 34 hospitalizations at the UCHealth Burn and Frostbite Center so far this year. Last year, the unit had 30 enrollments for the entire winter season.

It’s unclear why hospitals are seeing an increase in frostbite cases, but a colder than average winter season in Colorado, in part due to La Niña, may be to blame.

Frostbite can occur in minutes, according to UCHealth. At 5 degrees Celsius and 30 mph winds, it takes only 30 minutes to develop frostbite. At -5 degrees Celsius and 30 mph winds, frostbite can occur in 10 minutes.

temperature of Denver drops to near zero by early Monday morning. A cold wind advisory is set to be in effect for the entire Interstate 25 corridor and eastern plains through 9:00 am Monday.

The UCHealth Burn and Frostbite Center offers the following tips if you suspect frostbite after exposure to the cold.

  • Prevents additional exposure to cold.
  • Warm the affected area with lukewarm (not hot) water for 15-30 minutes.
  • Keep the affected area elevated to reduce swelling.
  • Use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen if the affected area hurts when heated.
  • Avoid walking on frostbitten feet.

If your skin looks blue, bluish-gray, or blistered when it warms up, it’s important to see your doctor as soon as possible to prevent further tissue damage.

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