Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Notebook

Article excerpt

Fighting Frostbite

The first sign is usually pain and reddening of the skin. Then the skin turns a grayish-white, and the pain often disappears. This is bad, not good, because it means that a relatively innocuous condition called chilblain has become the much more serious frostbite.

When temperatures are plunging into single digits, frostbite can strike within a few minutes. Wind chill is a critical factor, and keeping body parts covered is essential.

Frostbite is one of the body's defense mechanisms against cold, says Dr. Andrew Young of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine at Natick, Mass. To keep internal core organs warm, the body diverts blood from the skin and extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes and the tip of the nose.

Young says the best treatment for frostbite is to see a doctor, but people who find themselves victimized by this winter hazard can take some first-aid measures:

Stop further damage by covering exposed areas and getting the frostbite victim someplace warm.

Then warm the affected area gradually. Warming it too quickly can increase swelling, which is not only painful but also increases the amount of permanent damage.

"We've found the best way to warm the affected area gradually is through skin-to-skin contact," Young says. "If it's your ear, you can put your hand over it."

"You don't want to put the area into hot water."

Young says it's critically important not to allow the area to refreeze after it has been warmed. Knight-Ridder Newspapers

*****

Skinks On The Brink

They're not cute, furry or cuddly. In fact, they're slippery like snakes.

Yet two legless lizards, the sand skink and the blue-tailed mole skink, are on the protected species list, right alongside the Florida panther, the Key deer and the black bear.

The sand-swimming reptiles are found only in Central Florida. …

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