Although many Minnesotans heeded the weather warnings about the severe cold and guarded themselves against frostbite, it's already been a record year of cases at area hospitals.
For those who aren't prepared for the sub-zero temperatures and wicked wind chills, it only takes a few minutes before frostbite and hypothermia become real health risks.
Since the beginning of the year, doctors at HCMC have treated a record 20 so far in the burn unit. In December, they saw more cases than they usually do in an entire year. In fact, the burn unit is currently accepting donations of oversized hats, mittens, gloves and sweat pants to help the patients.
Regions Hospital has admitted 27 patients for frostbite or hypothermia since Saturday. That's more cases than they treated all last winter which was 26. They also admitted an additional 23 cases in December which puts this season's total to 40.
Doctors say the onset of frostbite often feels like a tingling or burning sensation that develops into pain. Another indication is when skin looks white, waxy or mottled with patches of purple, and when those visual signs are present, it's important to be seen urgently to avoid tissue loss.
Many people may try to treat frostbite at home by warming the affected area in water, but doctors caution that cycles of freezing and thawing will amplify an injury and they recommend seeing a physician quickly.
Watch the video to see how EMTs handle the cold weather calls.