With dropping temperatures, experts warn of protecting yourself and your kids from frostbite

CREATED Jan 21, 2013

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With the wind chill this low, it doesn't take long for things to become very dangerous.

When you combine wind chill with temperaturess this low, it's nothing to mess around with. Your skin can freeze in 15 to 30 minutes outside in these conditions.

“It’s horrible,” said John Mierow of Wauwatosa. “I hate living in Wisconsin. The older I get, the harder it is to cope with it.”

Mierow doesn't disguise his distaste for our arctic cold snap. He also knows the temperatures can be downright dangerous.

“I try to keep the amount of time I’m outside to a limit, so I’m not exposed too long to it.”

Just 15 to 30 minutes outside on Tuesday could put your at risk for frostbite. So, it's important to know the warning signs.

They include:

-The first sign of redness or pain
-White or grayish-yellow skin
-Unusually firm or waxy skin
-Numbness

If you find yourself fighting frostbite, here's what you need to do:

-Get into a warm room as soon as possible
-Don't walk on frostbitten feet or toes..it can worsen the damage
-Soak the affected area in warm water
-But do not rub or massage it
-Also, don't use a heating pad, fireplace or radiator to warm up

All can make your injury worse, and it's not anything Debbie Klein wants to take her chances with.

“I make sure my animals are in the house and we're moving her or we wouldn't be out,” said Klein.

One of the groups most vulnerable to frostbite is kids, and that's something to think about while they're waiting for the bus in the morning.

A quick trip to the library has Jody Moua convinced her children Ryan and Chloe won't be walking to school Tuesday morning.

“We are going to be driving them,” Moua said. “It's too cold, it's too cold.”

The family lives a few blocks from Roosevelt Elementary, and there's a good chance kids won’t be allowed out for recess either.

So how bad can it be to wait a few minutes for the bus or walk a couple of blocks?

“It gets cold quick and the kids sometimes get distracted easily,” said Jim Case, Wauwatosa assistant fire chief.

With so many students walking to school in Wauwatosa, Case said below zero temperatures are always a concern.

“It's always a pretty good idea someone keeps a close eye on them when they are out there, make sure they don't get distracted, make sure they get to school where they are supposed to get,” said Case.

With the weather this cold it is important to watch out for frostbite. Symptoms include a yellow tint to your skin. You may also feel itching or burning, or even blistering. Call a doctor right away if you think you have frostbite.