"Fingers are one of the first body parts to feel the effects of the cold and damp and along with toes, ears and the nose are frequently subjected to frostbite and even amputation," Arthur Sanford, MD, Division of Trauma, Surgical Critical Care and Burns, Loyola University Health System, said.
Frostbite is most likely to happen in body parts that are farthest from the heart and those with large exposed areas.
"Blood vessels start to constrict at or below 32 degrees Celsius to preserve body temperature. The lack of blood in areas of the body can lead to freezing and the death of skin tissue," he said.
"The senior who goes out in the snow to get her mail, falls, breaks a hip and lays in the cold and wet for hours until being discovered is a typical victim of frostbite," Sanford said.
When suffering from prolonged exposure to cold, use room temperature or slightly warm water to gently revitalize the body. "Do not use hot water, do not rub with handfuls of snow and do not vigorously massage the frozen area," he added.