The weather is an up and down occurrence, especially this year in the valley. It's when the weather gets below a certain temperature that you need to think about proper protection for your body.
Dan Kulak with Environment Canada says, "Appropriately dress. Assuming, you should have a proper jacket, clothing and footwear. Moving outdoors, you should properly have your face covered."
There are 3 stages of frostbite and each stage should be taken seriously:
Stage 1- Frostnip. This is the mildest form of frostbite. The skin begins to turn red. Continued exposure leads to prickling and numbness. As you begin to warm, you may feel pain and tangling in the effected area. Luckily, this does not cause permanent damage to the skin,
Stage 2- Superficial Frostbite. Reddened skin begins to turn pale and white. The tissue may still be soft and could have ice forming on the effected area. Your skin may begin to feel warm- a sign of serious skin irritation. If you can re-warm at this stage, you may notice blisters 24 to 36 hours after superficial frostbite occurs.
Stage 3- Server Frostbite. You may lose all sensation to the effected area. Joints and muscles may no longer work. Large blisters will form after 24 hours of re-warming and the effected tissue turns black and hard as the cells begin to die.
Dan Kulak also says, "Even if it's only minus five degrees, you're going to get cold eventually. You can get hypothermia and that's a life threatening condition. Frostbite is normally talked about as something that can happen in a rather quickly. But any long term exposure to cold can lead to frostbite and hypothermia."
Kulak further comments, "Extreme cold warnings that Environment Canada issues are for temperature or windchills of -40 or colder."
The winter season is not over yet so make sure you're properly and proactively protecting yourself from the winter elements.