How to Avoid the Chilling Consequences of Frostbite

iStock.com/ArtShotPhoto
iStock.com/ArtShotPhoto

A healthy portion of the United States is currently suffering the effects of the polar vortex, a weather phenomenon that has seen temperatures plummet to as low as -26°F in Chicago. Factor in wind speed and anyone caught outside could have to endure wind chills hitting -60°F. For contrast, the Popsicles in your freezer are likely chilling out at a mere 0°F.

These extreme conditions have some real and alarming consequences. In Madison, Wisconsin, seven people were treated Wednesday night for frostbite symptoms, which result from the body rerouting blood and oxygen from extremities to major organs in response to frigid temperatures. As blood vessels narrow, tiny ice crystals form in the skin. The skin freezes, turning blue, firm, or waxy in appearance. Blisters can form. It can also feel numb or tingle. Left untreated, permanent nerve damage or gangrene can result, possibly requiring amputation of the affected body parts.

The risk of developing frostbite depends on duration of exposure and wind chill. The lower the temperature, the less time it takes to develop complications. At a wind chill of -22°F, it would take 31 minutes of exposure. At -45°F, you've got six minutes. Fingers, toes, noses, cheeks, and ears are the sites most commonly affected.

Frostbite stages depend on how deep it's penetrated the skin. Simple frostbite, or frostnip, is superficial, with some redness and subsequent numbness. Warm skin is an indication the frostbite is more advanced. Deep frostbite, which can reach subcutaneous tissue, could mean tissue death.

If you begin to notice symptoms of frostbite, follow your instincts and seek shelter immediately. Once you're inside, resist the urge to rub the affected skin, run it under hot water, or apply a hot compress: Because of the numbness, you won't be able to tell if you're burning yourself. Instead, use warm water and your own body heat—like tucking fingers into your armpits—until you can be seen by a doctor. (Some people may benefit from home treatment until the skin returns to its normal color. If you're unsure, it's best to seek medical advice.)

Of potentially greater concern is hypothermia, a condition in which people lose too much body heat, often brought on by the combination of low temperatures and wet clothing. As the body temperature plummets, people can become disoriented or even lose consciousness. Hypothermia requires medical attention. If the hypothermic person is awake, drinking warm beverages and getting wrapped in warm blankets may help until they can be seen by a physician.

Naturally, the best prevention for both frostbite and hypothermia is avoidance. Stay indoors, preferably until spring.

[h/t The New York Times]

From Cocaine to Chloroform: 28 Old-Timey Medical Cures

YouTube
YouTube

Is your asthma acting up? Try eating only boiled carrots for a fortnight. Or smoke a cigarette. Have you got a toothache? Electrotherapy might help (and could also take care of that pesky impotence problem). When it comes to our understanding of medicine and illnesses, we’ve come a long way in the past few centuries. Still, it’s always fascinating to take a look back into the past and remember a time when cocaine was a common way to treat everything from hay fever to hemorrhoids.

In this week's all-new edition of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is highlighting all sorts of bizarre, old-timey medical cures. You can watch the full episode below.

For more episodes like this one, be sure to subscribe here.

Game of Thrones Star Sophie Turner Opened Up About Her Struggles With Depression

Helen Sloan, HBO
Helen Sloan, HBO

Playing one of the main characters on the most popular show currently on television isn't always as glamorous as it seems. Sometimes, the pressures of fame can be too much. Sophie Turner realized this while playing Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones, and has recently revealed how being in the public eye took a toll on her mental health.

Turner took on the role of Sansa Stark in 2011, when she was just a teenager, and she quickly became a household name. Now, at 23, she's come forward to Dr. Phil on his podcast Phil in the Blanks to explain how negative comments on social media affected her self-image and mental health.

"I would just believe it. I would say, ‘Yeah, I am spotty. I am fat. I am a bad actress.' I would just believe it," Turned explained. "I would get [the costume department] to tighten my corset a lot. I just got very, very self-conscious."

Later on, these feelings led to major depression. Turner developed a sense of isolation after she realized that all of her friends and family were going off to colleege while she was pursuing a sometimes-lonely acting career.

"I had no motivation to do anything or go out. Even with my best friends, I wouldn't want to see them, I wouldn't want to go out and eat with them," Turner explained. "I just would cry and cry and cry over just getting changed and putting on clothes and be like, 'I can't do this. I can't go outside. I have nothing that I want to do.'"

The feelings of depression stayed with Turner for most of the time she was filming Game of Thrones, and it's a battle she's still fighting. "I've suffered with my depression for five or six years now. The biggest challenge for me is getting out of bed and getting out of the house. Learning to love yourself is the biggest challenge," she continued.

The actress shared that she goes to a therapist and takes medication for her depression—two things that have helped her feel better.

Between Game of Thrones ending and planning her wedding to fiancé Joe Jonas, Turner may not have the time to take on many new acting roles in the near future. However, we'll continue to see her as Sansa Stark in the final season of Game of Thrones, and as Jean Grey in Dark Phoenix, which hits theaters on June 7.

[h/t: E! News]

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