As the mercury drops, so does the number of emergency room patients at Fletcher Allen Health Care. Fewer people are playing outside.
"People are smart. When people see that it's going to be 20 degrees below, there are then less people out skiing, skating, ice fishing and snowmobiling," said Dr. Stephen Lefler of Fletcher Allen Healthcare.
But Dr. Lefler says he expects to see at least a few cases of frostbite in coming days.
"People might think they're just going to run from their car into the mall or into work. But if they don't have a hat, gloves, or even a scarf on, they can really quickly get frostbite on their nose, tip of the ears, and fingers," said Lefler.
Lefler says it only takes a few minutes for frostbite to set in on any exposed skin when temperatures are sub zero. And because frozen fingers, noses and ears lose feeling fast, he says it's sometimes tough to recognize the first signs of frostbite.
"I think the really important thing is if you're going to be outside have a partner. Make sure you're with someone that is checking frequently for frostbite, and make sure that you're not out for an extended period of time," said Lefler.
The Burlington Fire Department wants to make sure your safe inside your home. Advising people to only use approved heating devices. They warn against using your oven or stove to heat your home since it could start a fire or lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Officials say to make sure all your detectors are working properly. The Red Cross also says you should never leave a fireplace or space heater unattended.
"The Red Cross in our region responds about 130 times a year and I'd say 90 plus percent of those calls are to home fires. The winter is the most dangerous time of year. In just the past 4 days our volunteers responded to four house fire," explains Doug Bishop of the American Red Cross.
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