ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Even though we are no stranger to the cold in Rochester, every once in a while, we get a blast of arctic air that has the potential to be dangerous if the proper precautions aren’t taken.

Today is the perfect example of the type of cold air that can catch you off guard if you’re not being extra careful, and while it’s not impossible to venture outside in it, it still has the potential to cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes. This means knowing the signs of both frostbite and hypothermia are important in order to stay safe.  

As soon as wind chills drop below zero it’s important to know how to bundle up properly when heading out the door, and when it’s time to head inside. For those still trying to hit the slopes or the sledding hill, Ski Patroller Kathee Tyo at Bristol Mountain says it’s all about limiting your exposure and listening to your body. 

“Our body has a really good way of giving us signals, right? So, one of the early signals is shivering. That means you’re not warm enough. Your body is trying to generate heat because it’s losing too much heat, and if that’s the case that’s a key that maybe we should go inside, warm up maybe add a layer,” Tyo said.  

Tyo says oftentimes we forget to cover up important extremities such as the nose, ears and cheeks that are highly susceptible to the harmful effects of the cold.

“There’s frost bite, there’s frost nip. Those things are a little bit different, but frostbite is more significant. Hypothermia is really about your core body temperature and how cold you’re getting, and you can get more systematic symptoms and it’s much more threatening,” Tyo said. 

You can prevent frostbite, often appearing as red or swollen skin that feels like it’s on fire by covering up, staying dry, and staying out of the wind. 

“You can modify the amount of time you’re outside, take breaks more often, come inside and warm up and then the other option is to cover up,” Tyo said.

Knowing the signs and keeping an eye on others who may be more susceptible to the cold can make a world of difference, and in some cases save their life.

Tyo also recommends wearing as many warm layers as you can that are made up of wool and moisture wicking material if you’re planning to partake in any outdoor activities this weekend.