We’re experiencing a true Midwest winter, and that's showing up in the increased number of hospital visits.
Doctors said emergency room visits are up from this time last year, and they see more and more people coming in every day with a weather-related injury.
From frozen fingers to falling on the ice, the worries of winter are keeping ER doctors very busy.
Piling on the clothing and using hand warmers is smart, but only for so long.
Doctors we spoke with said if you must brave this bitter cold, it's smart to stay aware of your surroundings.
“It’s just a mutli-factoral problem related to the weather," said Dr. Steven Spilger, the director of the Memorial Hospital emergency room.
From slipping and sliding car crashes to hypothermia, emergency rooms are packed with winter-related injuries.
“This year seems a little worse for some reason because of a long stretch of cold and snow," Spilger said.
This doctor has seen it all.
“We had a fellow who had been drinking a bit too much and was frozen to the sidewalk," Spilger said.
Stuck to the sidewalk because he was too drunk to realize just how cold it is outside.
Doctors say taking this cold weather seriously is the first step to keeping yourself out of the ER.
“You have the obstruction of mobility due to the piling up snow, slippery ice surfaces, people falling and hurting themselves and then being out in the cold after they hurt themselves," Spilger said.
Suffering frostbite is one of the most common problems coming through the doors at the Memorial ER.
Preventing this problem depends on body type.
“It varies person to person,” Spilger said. “It depends on their baseline vascular status."
To put it simply, it depends on how your blood flows.
Longtime smokers, diabetics and heart patients are more prone to frostbite because their blood flows slower to fingers and toes
“If it’s a minor frostbite, you keep it warm, warm it up," Spilger said.
But if it's severe, you know it’s time for a visit to the ER.
“You’ll have discoloration of the tissue, it will respond like a burn, sometimes you get a bull-eye, a clear vesicle that will bubble up," Spilger said.
One common mistake people make is forgetting to drink water in this weather.
Dr. Spilger said our bodies are constantly breathing out warm air, so it's very important to keep drinking water to rehydrate, even in the cold.