As Colorado faces frigid temperatures with multiple negative-degree days in a row, UCHealth has reported a record number of patients being hospitalized for frostbite this year.

As of February 15, UCHealth officials have treated 26 individuals at the UCHealth Burn and Frostbite Center on the Anschutz Campus in Aurora. In addition, hospital staff has seen a higher rate of people coming into the emergency departments throughout northern Colorado for frostbite incidents over the past few days.

According to UCHealth, frostbite can happen very quickly, sometimes within 10 minutes of exposure if temperatures are cold enough. The parts of the body that are exposed to the cold air, like hands and ears, are most commonly affected.

Signs and symptoms of frostbite include shivering, numbness, pale skin, clumsy movements and pain that persists for 45 minutes after rewarming. UCHealth warns that if frostbite is suspected, it's important to get to a doctor right away — the longer someone waits, the higher the likelihood of amputation.

If someone thinks they have been exposed to frostbite, UCHealth recommends removing any wet clothing and avoid rubbing the area, which can cause tissue damage.

For more tips regarding frostbite and preparing for cold weather in Colorado, visit: https://www.uchealth.org/today/colorado-weather-frostbite-happens-fast-so-bundle-up/.

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