Hurley Medical Center ER seeing an uptick in adults with cold-related injuries

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FLINT (WJRT) (1/2/2018) - As the temperatures remain frigid, doctors are warning about the dangers of not dressing properly for the cold.

And, it's not just little children they're worried about.

Hurley Medical Center's Emergency Room is filled with adults dealing with cold-related injuries.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Michael Jaggi said several people are coming in with anything from frostnip to frostbite and even hypothermia.

He explained because they're on medications that alter blood pressure or blood flow, they aren't aware they're losing feeling in their hands and feet.

"In our chronically ill patients and in the elderly, certainly there are medications that will alter one's sensation," he said. "And, also in the elderly, their ability to regulate their own internal temperatures are different. So, hypothermia in the elderly and some contact injuries in patients."

Jaggi said smokers also can lose circulation in their extremities faster if they've developed vascular disease, which can lead to cold weather injuries.

Jaggi said it's crucial to check on neighbors and older friends to make sure they're safe.

And when you're going out to shovel snow, or do any other winter activity, wear gloves and boots.

He said the ER has dealt with severe frostbite cases recently, but the trauma team has been able to come up with a different solution than amputating their patients' hands and feet.

He suggested as soon as you feel numb, get out of the cold and re-warm your body parts. Jaggi said patients should only use warm water.

"You don't want to use hot water because some people actually get thermal injury from burns from the heat," he said. "And, you certainly don't want to use any kind of open flame or direct heat from a furnace or whatnot on your skin, because you can also have a heat-related injury at the same time you have frostbite."

Jaggi said he's barely seen any kids in the ER with cold-related injuries. As kids return to school Wednesday, he advised parents to keep them bundled up, covering hands, feet and as much of their faces as possible.



 
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