(COLORADO SPRINGS) — On Monday morning, many throughout Southern Colorado woke up to freezing temperatures. Over the span of 24 hours, UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central’s emergency department treated two patients for frostbite and three others for cold exposure.

“Honestly, with the type of temperatures that we are seeing with the wind chill, 30 minutes can cause some frostbite,” Medical Director at UCHealth Urgent Care, Dr. Ian Tullberg, said. “And even below zero, it can cause frostbite in 10 minutes. So, you just really need to be careful and make sure to protect your skin.”

Protecting your skin means dressing warm and if you begin having numbness or discoloration of skin, get inside.

“And the first thing to do with that is just get out of the temperatures, get into a warm place,” Tullberg said.

Tullberg also added that you should put your hands under warm – not hot – water, as that can burn your skin.

“Make sure, though, that when you do that, you’re not going to go right back out and possibly have the same thing happen, that refreezing really can damage cells,” Tullberg said.

For those wishing to exercise or get outside, El Paso County Search and Rescue (EPCSAR) said to be prepared and to wear layers of clothes.

“Another big one is layers that are capable of covering exposed skin,” said EPCSAR Public Information Officer, Jay Christianson. “So whether it’s a buffer hat that you can pull down over your ears or some sort of face covering, obviously gloves work really well. Layering is another big part of that conversation, to be sure that you can manage both sweat that you’re producing from activity, as well as prevent yourself from overcooling.”

Christianson explained the importance of planning ahead and how injuries on the trail can result in cold-related problems.

“So typically in our situation, the cold exposure is going to be a secondary issue that we need to be concerned with,” Christianson said. “Typically, somebody is capable of moving through whatever they’re doing and runs into another problem that then causes the cold issue. So imagine going on a big hike and twisting or breaking an ankle. Suddenly you can’t walk anymore, and you’re prepared for staying warmish while walking. But now you can’t stay warm sitting.”

EPCSAR is a non-profit volunteer organization and has volunteers on duty 365 days a year. Christianson said there is “no charge for search and rescue and that’s a common misconception.”

For children going outside or to school, Tullberg stressed the importance of making sure your child is dressed warm and their skin is not exposed to the cold.

“So, I guess that’s my biggest thing I’d really like to push out there is sometimes we need to make sure that we are doing what’s right for our children and making sure that they are staying covered up in these times,” Tullberg said. “Because again, you never know what’s going to happen.”

Besides looking out for yourself in these cold conditions, Tullberg also shared to keep an eye out on your pets.

“And we do recommend covering in layers, so that is the best way to get insulation for that,” Tullberg said. “So make sure that you are prepared before you go out in it, but not only that, but also pay attention to your pets. Your pets… they’ve got a nice little fur coat on, but they really can suffer in these temperatures as well.”