Frostbite

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15 of the Worst Things to Do If You’re Stranded in the Cold

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH In 2002, a couple of years after he won the Olympic gold medal in wrestling, Rulon Gardner went snowmobiling in Wyoming. “I told myself it would be a short trip,” he told the Associated Press. “We were going to go out about three hours and get home for dinner.” But he got lost and ended up stranded for 17 hours. The temperature reached as low as 25 below zero, according to the AP. […]

By | February 23rd, 2015|Cold, Weather|10 Comments

The Top 10 Most Popular Winter-Safety Posts of the Year

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH Here in Colorado, we’ve already had some really cold days and then some sneaky mild ones. Sneaky because I get all comfortable going out with a light jacket one day; the next, the sky is clear, and it looks the same—from the inside. I walk out, and bam, it’s biting cold. Or the day is pretty mild and the night is freezing. Winter is upon us, and I have this sneaky feeling it’s going to get colder before it gets warmer.  So I went back and reviewed my previous posts for winter safety tips (hey, sometimes even I don’t remember every detail I’ve written). And below I’ve linked to the 10 most popular ones for 2014. Even if you’ve read them, I’d suggest you, like me, could benefit from a review, to get you ready for the upcoming cold. And even if you live in a warm climate, check out number eight for sure. […]

By | December 16th, 2014|Cold, Weather|3 Comments

Stranded With Frostbite? 17 Dos and Don’ts

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. In my last post, I talked about how Olympic gold-medal winner Rulon Gardner saved most of his foot despite severe frostbite. The main thing is, he didn’t rewarm it while there was still a chance of the tissue refreezing. (If it had refrozen, it would have been dead meat—literally.) And of course, he was able to get to a medical facility. But what if you can’t get expert care? What if you’re stranded in some shack or tent? Here are some first-aid dos and don’ts for severe frostbite when help is not on the way. […]

By | February 14th, 2012|Cold, Weather|5 Comments

Frozen Foot? When Not to Rewarm It

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Relatively speaking, losing just one toe and a couple of toe tips was pretty much a best-case scenario for Rulon Gardner. He could have lost his entire foot—and some people would have in the same situation. As I talked about Tuesday, the Olympic gold-medal wrestler survived being stranded on a mountainside for seventeen hours in 2002. His right shoe was frozen to his foot. I imagine the tissue was gray or white and hard to the touch, frozen with severe frostbite. But Rulon did a few things that saved his foot—things anyone in the same situation could do, high-level athlete or average joe. […]

By | February 9th, 2012|Cold, Weather|1 Comment

What an Olympian’s Brush With Death Teaches Us About Frostbite

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Rulon Gardner is one megatough dude. He’s a local celebrity here in Colorado (Olympic wresting gold medalist and The Biggest Loser participant). A giant of a guy, he was stranded for something like seventeen hours on the side of a mountain after a snowmobile accident in 2002. You can read his story in Sports Illustrated. They found him almost dead from hypothermia. His right shoe was frozen to his foot. He survived and is back to competitive wrestling. He lost the tips of both big toes, all of his right middle one, and a lot of skin. But it could have been so much worse. We can learn a lot about frostbite from his experience. […]

By | February 7th, 2012|Cold, Weather|0 Comments