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Record number of people hospitalized with frostbite at UCHealth in Aurora

Posted at 3:54 PM, Feb 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-15 17:59:00-05

DENVER — Snowfall in Denver was limited over the weekend, but dangerous cold temperatures persisted, and UCHealth had a reminder about that Monday: 26 people were hospitalized with frostbite at UCHealth's Ancschutz campus on Monday afternoon.

That's a record for most frostbite patients at one time at the hospital's burn and frostbite center.

Frostbite is when exposure to freezing temperatures damages skin and tissue, causing affected areas to go without blood, nutrients and oxygen.

UCHealth advised that frostbite can happen quickly in near-zero temperatures.

In five-degree weather with 30 mph winds, frostbite can happen in 30 minutes. At five below zero and 30 mph winds, frostbite can happen in about 10 minutes.

Signs and symptoms of frostbite include shivering, numbness, pale skin color, clumsy movements and pain that persists for 45 minutes after you warm up.

Some good news: Temperatures will warm up slightly heading into Tuesday, with highs in the mid-30s and then highs in the 50s by the end of the week. We'll still likely see some snow in the Denver area Wednesday, though the more severe winter weather will remain east of the metro.