How to prevent frostbite, stay safe while wind chill warnings, advisories are in effect

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Temperatures are expected to fall dangerously low starting Tuesday through Friday, with wind chill advisories and wind chill warnings in effect.

The following information can help keep you safe in the bitter cold.

RELATED: Extreme cold grips area, leads to car accidents, water main break

First, know what wind chill warnings mean. A "Wind Chill Advisory" means exposed skin can develop frostbite in 15 to 30 minutes. A "Wind Chill Warning" means exposed skin can become frostbitten in as little as five minutes.

From Tuesday through Friday morning, much of the Chicago area will have weather conditions under which exposed skin can become frostbitten within 10 minutes.

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Here are some tips for preventing frostbite when temperatures dip.

If you do have to go out in the cold, make sure you're prepared in case of emergency.

Carry an ice scraper, salt, first aid kit, tool kit, jumper cables and a flashlight in your car. Be sure your car has been properly serviced and your oil, battery and tires have been recently checked to lower risk of problems related to cold weather.

This chart shows how long it will take exposed skin to develop frostbite given air temperature and wind speed.

Check the latest forecast from the ABC7 AccuWeather team

Extra layers of clothing, food and blankets are also a good idea in case you must wait for help to arrive due to car trouble.

These tips can help keep you safe while driving in cold weather.

Mark McGinnis

No matter how long you will be outside, wear at least two layers of clothing - for example, long johns and jeans with heavy socks and insulated boots - and try to stay inside in the morning hours.

According to, if you are outside in extreme cold, you should avoid rubbing cold body parts until you get inside. Instead, put your hands in your armpits and remove any tight-fitting jewelry like rings and watches. If possible, drink warm liquids, put on extra layers, or hold onto another person or animal to keep warm until you can go inside.

Follow these clothing suggestions to minimize frostbite risk.

Mark McGinnis

Once you get inside, advises that you avoid extreme heat, such as that from a stove, hair dryer, or heating pad, because you could burn yourself without feeling it. Instead, get in a warm, but not hot, bath and use a warm, damp towel on your face.

"Frostbitten skin will become red and swollen and feel like it's on fire," according to "You may develop blisters....if your skin turns blue or gray, is very swollen, blistered or feels hard and numb even under the surface, go to a hospital."

For more information about frostbite safety, visit
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