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Doctor's orders: Don't let the frost bite

By Emily Crane
On January 28, 2014


With temperatures hovering close to zero all day Tuesday, the Office of Student Wellness is calling on students to take extra precautions against the cold.

Students are particularly at risk of frostbite, according to Erin Harris, director the Mccullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital Emergency Room (ER).  

"It really doesn't take very long to get frostbite," Harris said. "The biggest thing is to make sure all skin is covered."

A former Miami student came close to losing several limbs to frostbite earlier this month when he was found face-down in the snow on West Withrow St., suffering from hypothermia and non-responsive after a night of drinking Uptown (read the full story in the Police Beat on pg. 3). He was transported to the Mcculough-Hyde Memorial Hospital before being transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

Thanks to the treatment he received at the trauma center, he escaped without any lasting damage to his limbs.

Alcohol consumption can increase the risk of hypothermia as it may decrease one's sensation of cold, according to a statement by the Office of Student Wellness.  The statement discouraged students from drinking alcohol before or during cold weather.

The statement also called on students to wear adequate clothing, including several layers of socks, a hat that covers the ears and a good pair of gloves or mittens.  Harris agreed that this is the single most important thing for preventing frostbite or hypothermia.

"Make sure they're dressing appropriately," Harris said. "That's the most important thing."

The Office of Student Wellness also encouraged students to keep moving while they are outside.

"Get moving. Increasing physical activity will help your body stay warm," the statement reads. "Wiggle fingers and toes if they start to feel numb."

The university has called for all classes before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday to be cancelled and for all Miamians to limit their outdoor exposure.

The administration will continue to monitor conditions throughout the day and will post updates to MyMiami

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