March has certainly come in like a lion as the first day of the month saw warm temperatures and rain showers, turn to bitter cold temperatures with below zero wind chill. Central New Yorkers should be used to these climate swings, but it never gets easier to deal with.

One of the dangers of wind chill is not only frozen nostrils, but the possible adverse effect it could have on your skin and extremities. According to the Mayo Clinic, frostbite is the literal freezing of the skin and "underlying tissue." Frostbite is something that is caused by exposure to cold temperatures for prolonged periods of time, but can also be caused by skins direct contact with a frozen surface or actual ice. Even if you're wearing certain types of gloves not designed to deal with the elements, frostbite can set it.

How do you know you have it? The Mayo Clinic website lists the following symptoms of Frostbite.

  • At first, cold skin and a prickling feeling
  • Numbness
  • Red, white, bluish-white or grayish-yellow skin
  • Hard or waxy-looking skin
  • Clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness
  • Blistering after rewarming, in severe cases

You most commonly see frostbite develop in the smaller extremities like finger, ears and cheeks, to name a few. These areas are so susceptible to the dangers of frostbite due to them being the most exposed parts of your body. Frostbite may not be noticed right away and in some cases will take someone else being suspicious of something wrong to notice. The Mayo Clinic says that is because skin numbness may prevent you from feeling the freezing effect on the skin.

There are some simple ways you can prevent being bitten in the frigid weather. Health experts recommend limiting the time you spend outdoors, wear plenty of warm and dry layers, wear mittens instead of gloves and always keep moving. You can get more tips and information on Frostbite prevention and treatment at www.mayoclinic.org.

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