Dangerous wind chills bring warnings from medical professionals

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CLEVELAND - This latest round of lake effect snow will bring with it bitterly cold temperatures. Doctors warn that being outside for long periods in this type of weather can be dangerous.

"I'm indoors, I'm never outside, it's too cold for me," said one woman who was walking downtown.

"You gotta be prepared for this weather in Cleveland, I'm telling you..it's iffy weather, it can be cool one day and then terrible another," said her son.

That 'iffy'' Cleveland weather is becoming more certain.

Northeast Ohio is bracing for temperatures that will plunge well below freezing.

"I just bought a space heater because my walls are really drafty and I just made this hat, so yeah, that's what I'm doing this week," said another woman.

"If you start to feel your hands getting really cold or numb or tingly, those are signs that you should come inside," said Dr. Anjay Khandelwal, co-director of the burn care center at MetroHealth Medical Center.

He says it is important to avoid being outdoors for an extended time to avoid frostbite.

"People don't think of frostbite of being a burn injury, but in many ways, it really is...it's just the opposite side of a thermal injury, it's a cold thermal injury," he said.

Dr. Khandelwal says if you suspect frostbite, get inside, and gradually heat the area with warm water.

He emphasizes the importance of covering fingers and toes, dressing warmly and staying dry if you have to be outside for long.

"Frostbite injuries are actually more common than we think, especially the last several years when we had more severe temperatures, especially with the polar vortex, we saw a number of patients, we saw well over 30 to 40 patients," said the doctor.

Although many cringe at the onset of frigid temperatures, some people we ran into are taking it in stride.

"We're from Erie, Pennsylvania so the other side of the lake where it gets way colder and way snowier, so it's cold, but to us, it's not 'don't leave your house' cold," said a woman visiting town.

Dr. Khandelwal also reminded people to help out elderly relatives and neighbors, and also do not let children play outside for long periods.

He also cautioned people about drinking alcohol because it prevents people from feeling exactly how cold they really are.

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