In Extreme Cold, Frostbite Can Happen In Minutes

By Mark Carlson, Iowa City Bureau Chief


By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Doctors are warning people to stay out of the cold for extended periods of time as another round of extreme temperatures bears down on Eastern Iowa.

“In temperatures like what we will see [Thursday night] you can see frostbite in 30 minutes,” said Dr. Michael Miller of the Univ. of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics' emergency room. “Add the wind chill, and it can happen in five-to-ten minutes.”

Miller said recent weather has caused an uptick in cold weather related illnesses and complications brought on by the cold.

“We have been a little more busy at times,” he said. “Whenever a cold snap hits, we understand some of those extreme things that can come in.”

Service providers at Shelter House are also preparing for the incoming cold, which could bring lows of below -20 next week.

“We haven’t been forced to turn people away at this point, we’ve been lucky,” said Mark Sertterh, resident services director.

Sertterh said the homeless shelter has been able to keep up with demand as more people appear willing to open their doors to friends, family or acquaintances during extreme cold.

“We can be completely full in June, turning away a lot of people, we haven’t had to do that this winter,” he said.

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