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Don't Chill Out While Hunting

You could become a target for frostbite

SATURDAY, Nov. 22, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- When you're out hunting in cold weather, make sure you don't become a sitting duck for frostbite.

Frostbite occurs when flesh freezes on your hands, face, ears, toes and other areas of your body. It's a potential threat for anyone doing any kind of outdoor activity in cold weather if you're not properly prepared and don't pay attention to the warning signs.

So when you're hunting in cold weather, make regular checks of your face, feet and hands for the start of frostbite, recommends the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

Pins-and-needles sensation, numbness and white spots are the first indications of frostbite. The white spots on your skin may later become red and swollen.

If you're hunting with a friend(s), do frequent scans of each other's faces for indications of frostbite.

Prevention is the best protection. Wear appropriate clothing and be sure to protect susceptible areas. Layer your clothing. The outer layer should be wind-proof and water-resistant. The layer closest to your body should be made of a material (for example, polypropylene) that moves moisture away from your skin. That should be topped with insulating layers of clothing. Wear a hat that covers your ears and warm boots for your feet.

Be aware that extreme cold, wet clothes and high winds increase the risk of frostbite. According to the University of Maryland Medicine, poor circulation is another risk factor for frostbite. It can be caused by tight clothing or boots, cramped positions, some medications, or diseases that affect the blood vessels.

Before you go out hunting in cold weather, don't drink alcohol or smoke and make sure you get enough food and rest.

More information

To learn more about frostbite prevention and treatment, go to the Cayuga Medical Center of Ithaca.

SOURCES: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources; University of Maryland Medicine
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