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Polar Vortex Death Toll Rises to 21
February 1, 2019
At least 21 people have died in one of the worst cold snaps to hit the US Midwest in decades. Some 250 million Americans overall have experienced the "polar vortex" conditions.
The Grossman Burn Center at Research Medical Center teamed up with KMBC Channel 9 to provide cold injury prevention tips and proper treatment. For frostnip, chilblains and frostbite prevention, the best advice during winter months is to “keep warm, keep dry, and keep moving.” Wear warm, dry, layered clothing as well as a windproof outer “shell.” Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Maintain circulation in the extremities by moving arms, legs, fingers and toes. Avoid constrictive clothing.
Other than prevention, acute treatment of frostbite includes: • Rapid rewarming with 104 – 108⁰F water (avoid warming and re-freezing!) • Ibuprofen 400mg every 12 hours • Tetanus prophylaxis • Limb elevation • No tobacco use • Thrombolytic therapy (in select patients)