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Web Extra: Staying Healthy in Cold Conditions

The deep freeze that's consumed much of the nation can mean deep trouble for people who aren't dressed properly or exert themselves too much in cold weather.
(NBC NEWS) - The deep freeze that's consumed much of the nation can mean deep trouble for people who aren't dressed properly or exert themselves too much in cold weather.

Extreme cold can lead to a lot of hurt, starting with frost bite.

Frost bite can occur in less than ten minutes as the wind chills plummet.

"You feel cold in the extremity, and then it gets numb, and it can actually get wooden and very stiff," explains Dr. Stephen Meldon of the Cleveland Clinic Emergency Department.

Getting inside and warming the area with warm water can help.

Emergency room doctors also warn people with vascular disease or poor circulation may be prone to heart attacks after shoveling and using snow blowers.

"People don't realize how hard they're working when it's cold, they don't realize how hard they're exerting themselves," says Dr. Meldon.

Breathing in dry, cold air can worsen asthma symptoms and trigger attacks.

Experts recommend people with asthma place a scarf over their mouth and nose to help moisturize the air they breathe.

And don't stop the bundling there.

Multiple layers of protection can help people stay safe until the nation can thaw.

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