Local physician talks safety while playing in the snow

OAK HILL, WV (WOAY) – It is no secret that kids and even adults like to have a little fun playing in the snow. But we spoke with Dr. Conley of Plateau Clinic about how long everyone should be out in the cold temperatures. 

“There’s no exact, you know, number, but you definitely don’t want to be out there playing for hours on end without at least coming in and getting warmed up,” Dr. Conley said. “And sometimes when you get so cold you can’t even really feel how cold you are, so I think it’s really important as a parent, make sure that your kids, 30 minutes to an hour.” 

Children and the elderly are most at risk for hypothermia which is why it is important to cover up in the cold temperatures.

“Make sure that they have protective things such as gloves because the fingers and the nose and ears, those are things that are going to be most likely to develop hypothermia and frostbite so again, make sure that their ears are protected, their nose and especially the hands,” he said. 

Dr. Conely says it is also about keeping snow gear dry. Putting on wet clothes can put anyone at a higher risk for hypothermia.

However, if you do develop the symptoms, Dr. Conley says it is all about letting your body temperature gradually warm up. 

“What happens, these nerve endings and stuff are suffering, so the patient will complain of burning and stinging and so if they’re having any numbness or stinging in the hands, redness of the hands, nose, ears, those are early signs of what we call frost nip which is actually the predecessor of frostbite, so if you have anything like that, you need to make sure you come in and get warm.” 

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Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.