Gloves, mittens and socks help protect our extremities from the cold, but the consequences can be devastating if they get wet for too long.
Evan Harter, 22, of Plattsburg, had all his toes amputated after he walked home last December during extremely frigid temperatures. His vehicle got stuck, so he decided to walk home.
"It took me about an hour to walk home," he recalled. "I was wearing dress slippers, a nice shirt, a jacket, long underwear, no gloves and actually no hat."
And his socks got wet. When he got home, he took off his shoes but went to bed with his damp socks still on his feet.
He knew for sure it was an unfortunate choice when he woke up the next morning. The numbing sensation had dulled the pain.
"My feet were purple from the ankle all the way to the toes," he said.
Doctors are battling to use skin grafts to save the rest of his feet. Harter will have to learn to walk without his toes. He has learned his lesson and he hopes his ordeal will help prevent other incidents.
"Always keep extra clothes in your car definitely no matter what," he said.
Doctors treat frostbite much like they do burns. Doctors speak of the adage frostbite in January means amputation in July.
Dr. Richard Korentager, a plastic surgeon at the University of Kansas Hospital, said frostbite can set in in 30 minutes.
"It's not only the temperature, it's the wetness that's such a big problem," he said.
For more information, including the signs of frostbite, click here If you think you are suffering from it, seek medical attention immediately.
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