With an extreme cold warning in effect for the Foothills, frostbite can set in within minutes.

Adam Loria, EMS public education officer for Alberta Health Services, says it's important to be aware of the signs so the condition doesn't worsen to a limb threatening, third degree frostbite.

"Some symptoms in regards to that would be white, 'waxy' skin, skin that's not re-warming appropriately, it could be in certain circumstances quite painful or at other times not painful. If someone is experiencing that type of injury they should definitely seek some sort of medical attention because there could be some underlying injury to the tissues or the blood flow."

Loria says the key to preventing frostbite is to cover up.

"If you work outside or if you are commuting to and from work, or are outside for whatever reason, definitely prepare appropriately, so on top of covering as much skin as you can, dress in layers. If you get a bit too warm it's easier to take a layer off and reapply that layer versus not having enough," he explains. "Staying hydrated with water too, your body does work very hard to regulate its temperature and it uses a significant amount of energy. Help your body out as well by seeking a warm place, weather that be a building or vehicle."

He adds hypothermia is another concern and that anyone having extreme difficulty recovering from the cold should seek medical attention.

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