OMAHA, NE – Cold temperatures settled over the Metro Sunday. The dangerous deep freeze contributed to at least a dozen emergency visits at Alegent Creighton Health Sunday. A hospital spokesperson said two of those cases were because of exposure to the cold temperatures.
“You can get potential frostbite right away on the exposed surfaces, especially tonight, when it's supposed to be so cold. Plus there’s so much wind tonight,” said Lakeside Hospital Emergency Room Physician Adrian Dreessen.
He said the hospital was prepared for more cold cases as the dangerous temperatures lingered. Dressing in layers help, Dreessen said, along with covering the neck and head, where he said a majority of body heat escapes.
“Usually those areas further away from the body may get injured first. So, ears, sometimes face surfaces, fingers, and toes are the most common,” said Dreessen.
Dreessen said anyone noticing frostbite symptoms should visit an emergency room immediately.
“If it becomes discolored--meaning pale or blue and stays that way--that absolutely needs to get checked out by someone professionally.”
Doctors in the metro weren’t the only ones mobilizing for the prolonged cold snap. Repair shops expected big business too.
“The engine is just freezing cold with all the metal parts in there. It's hard for them to move when it's cold. And the battery capacity is just a fraction of what it normally is,” said Charlie Graham Body and Service owner Jim Champion.
He went on to say that people who haven’t taken the best care of their vehicles are the ones likely to land in repair shops first.
“If you've neglected maybe some maintenance, the oil hasn't been changed regularly and maybe you needed some spark plugs and the battery was weak, this is when it comes together as a perfect storm the wrong way, it's not going to start,” Champion said.
He said to allow plenty of time for the engine to warm up. Omaha police have previously warned against starting a car and leaving it running unattended, saying that makes an easy target for car thieves.