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    Freezing temperatures blanket northern U.S.

closeup of frozen hands covered in snow holding a cup

It's cold outside and much of the United States is in for more Arctic air this week. With the forecast calling for subzero temperatures in some areas you'll need to be concerned about frostbite if you're outdoors.

Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues. First your skin becomes very cold and red, then numb, hard and pale. Frostbite is most common on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Exposed skin in cold, windy weather is most vulnerable to frostbite. But frostbite can occur on skin covered by gloves or other clothing.

Signs and symptoms of frostbite include:

  • 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

Learn more about frostbite.

illustration of stages of frostbite and how it affects the skin

Watch: Saving Lives With Gus - Don't get frostbite!