Frost gathers harvest: people with frostbite hospitalised after sudden cold spell in Tatarstan

Frost gathers harvest: people with frostbite hospitalised after sudden cold spell in Tatarstan
Photo: Maksim Platonov

Temperature goes down

The weather on the territory of Tatarstan keeps surprising with low temperatures. The temperature a few days ago was forecasted to go down to -33, while the Tatarstan Ministry of Education warned that classes in schools might be cancelled. The reality turned out to be colder than the forecasts — according to the data published by the republic’s Hydrometeorological Centre, the temperature in some districts of the republic approached -39.

Tatarstan residents are sharing photos of their thermometers that at times differ from what electronic devices show. So according to photos, the temperature in Bogatye Saby in the morning was -42, in Baltasi and Kamskoye Ustye was -43. -40 degrees were registered in Arsk District. The temperature in Verkhny Uslon was -32 degrees, the frost was -38 degree in Apastovo District.

Photo: social networks

Frost gathers harvest

The severe frost has also brought higher risks of excessive cooling. Kazan’s ambulance has received three calls because of frostbite. All patients are adults, after receiving medical help, they went home. Three calls have been received due to frostbite — one teenager who has received help immediately and two adults who have had to be hospitalised.

There were worse cases too. Surgeon of Republican Clinical Hospital’s Septic Surgery Unit Ayrat Akhunzyanov said that he had a patient with severe frostbite who was receiving treatment — he has type 2 diabetes and didn’t feel his extremities were frozen when he was on his way home. In general, the hospital annually receives 2-3 patients with severe cases of frostbite. While Children’s Republican Clinical Hospital’s Surgery Unit surgeon Vladimir Linkov said a kid in a critical state was being transported to Kazan at the moment.

“At this moment, our brigade is transporting a kid in a very critical state with frostbite. Another child was in hospital in Alekseyevsk District, he has a moderately severe case, not extensive hand frostbite,” Linkov said.

First signs of trouble

A fall in the body temperature below 32 degrees is characteristic of frostbite, Docent of Kazan State Medical Academy’s Department of Surgery Diseases Vyacheslav Filippov reminded us. Chills, drowsiness, mental confusion are characteristic symptoms. “There is general retardation, drowsiness in case of general frostbite. So you see a person, you address him, you don’t know if he is drunk or not, he doesn’t reply as usual. This should get your attention,” Filippov describes the state.

Frostbite is a local exposure to cold. Pale skin and numbing are the first signs. If the first stage of frostbite disappears in a week, a more serious case may require surgical interference — sometimes though amputation.

“A person might not even suspect at first he has serious frostbite. His skin goes pale, the fingers go numb, the person doesn’t pay attention — especially fans of winter fishing and those who spend much time outdoors. In general, it is necessary to seek advice,” Filippov adds.

He also noted that around 90% of the patients who come with frostbite are patients who abused alcohol on holidays. “A person loses control over the situation, lies outdoors. And if he isn’t paid attention, he runs the risk of getting frostbite,” Filippov says and reminds us against: alcohol just gives us an illusion of warmth, in fact, it worsens the organism’s cooling.

“Frostbite in children is a result of the parents’ lack of attention. If children are unattended, frostbite is possible. […] A child shouldn’t be let go for a walk alone, moreover, in such weather. And parents should pay attention to the child’s skin in 20-30 minutes after they go outside. Pale cheeks, other parts of the skin are the first signs,” Linkov adds.

How to warm yourself correctly

If a person is conscious, specialists recommend warming him “from inside” — give him hot food and drink and apply heat insulating bands on damaged sites or simply any warm objects. If the patient has a more serious condition, he goes to the hospital,” Ayrat Akhunzyanov notes that incorrect warming “from inside” can lead to grave consequences.

“I had a patient to disregarded the principle of warming inside. When he felt his legs didn’t obey him, the first thing he did was to take his shows off and put his legs on the radiator — he hoped he would get warm faster. In contrast, necroses developed,” Akhunzyanov said.
By Aleksandr Artemyev
Tatarstan