Doctors’ offices stay busy with cold-related injuries

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - With temperatures in the 20s and wind chills in single digits, doctors say it does not take long for the cold to turn deadly.

Since the beginning of the year, there have been extremely cold days and nights. Without proper protection from the cold, your body could be in real danger.

"It doesn't take long, minutes, being outside in the wind chill that we are having can be fatal," said Dr. Mark Castellaw with Baptist Medical Group.

Hypothermia can quickly set in if we are out in the cold too long unprotected from the elements, said Dr. Castellaw.

Our bodies begin to shut down, breathing slows down, and circulation drops.

When our core body temperature drops to the low 90s, that's when the cold becomes fatal.

"You need to stay inside," Dr. Castellaw said. "With the wind chill factor that we are having right now as well, people really should not be outside unless it's absolutely necessary."

Bone-chilling days have kept snow and ice around longer than usual in the Mid-South.

Injuries from icy roads and sidewalks have filled Dr. Castellaw's clinic with patients like Anthony Harlow.

"I slipped on the ice early Saturday morning, and he thinks I have a cracked rib," Harlow said.

Slip and fall patients are keeping X-ray technicians busy with broken hips, arms, and ribs.

It's a reminder to all that the cold and ice are nothing to take lightly.

Frostbite is another thing Dr. Castellaw said to watch for. If you start feeling stiffness in your fingers or toes that's a sign from your body they are not getting enough circulation.

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