Clinical manager Sarah Fleck at Turning Point’s overdose prevention site checks first aid supplies for clients with frostbite, in a Jan. 13, 2020 story. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Frostbite a concern in Red Deer

Turning Point in need of footwear and gloves

Staff at Turning Point’s overdose prevention site worry more clients will suffer severe frostbite, or worse, as the temperature continues to plummet.

Clinical manager Sarah Fleck said helping clients stay alive is the goal over the next few days. In the past week, staff have seen at least 10 cases of frostbite to hands and feet, with some people experiencing significant injuries.

“We haven’t even hit the coldest weather. It’s scary for us and it’s scary for our clients. We’re encouraging them to access shelter whereever they can and to hunker down and try not to fall asleep outside because they may not wake up,” Fleck said.

She said nurses at the overdose prevention site and Turning Point’s main office have been providing wound care and education on how to manage frostbite.

“I think it’s good that they’re trying to access some care from us. A lot of our clients are unwilling to go to the hospital so we try to address it as effectively as we can here before utilizing that.”

She said once skin has been damaged by frostbite, it’s important to stay indoors, but for people who may not be able to access shelter for whatever reason, maybe due to their personality, it is very difficult for them.

“It’s really unfortunate that there’s just not enough capacity in Red Deer to manage all the people, and all the personalities, and all the complex needs that everybody has.”

Fleck said everyone is struggling to stay warm, but if people have extra footwear, socks, mittens or gloves to donate, they could be dropped off at Turning Point’s main office, at 4611 50th Ave.

“That would be greatly appreciated for the people who are living outside and are trying their best to survive this coming week,” Fleck said.

Related:

Extreme cold warning continues in Red Deer region

‘I fell, I cried:’ Asylum seeker suffers severe frostbite after crossing border

Environment Canada has issued an extreme cold warning that includes a risk of frostbite in Red Deer area for the next few days.

Alex Campbell, EMS public education officer with Alberta Health Services, said in past years emergency medical services personnel in the province have encountered patients suffering third-degree frostbite with limbs that were totally frozen.

People with second-degree frostbite will often have blisters like burn victims.

He said first-degree frostbite causes skin to be white and waxy that will become painful and red as it warms. Skin should be warmed up passively, and if pain is not relieved with regular painkillers, they should seek medical attention.

He said the tip of the nose, earlobes and fingers are particularly susceptible.

“Frostbite is always going to be a challenge for people whenever we have this cold weather. Any cold, exposed skin is susceptible to frostbite,” Campbell said.

He recommended people dress in layers, stay hydrated to help regulate body temperature, and always travel with a full set of cold weather gear, like ski pants, in vehicles.

“Wherever you’re travelling by vehicle, you should be prepared to walk to get assistance if you become stuck or have a breakdown.”



szielinski@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dems say oust Trump or he’ll betray again; ‘He is who he is’

WASHINGTON — Closing out their case, House Democrats warned Friday in Donald… Continue reading

Senators may have to rein in activism in minority Parliament: new govt rep

OTTAWA — Independent senators may have to curb their enthusiasm for amending… Continue reading

Alberta woman charged with child abduction pleads guilty to lesser charge

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A woman in southern Alberta who was charged with… Continue reading

‘A little love can go a long way,’ says a Red Deer opioid user who supports overdose prevention

The OPS means higher survival rates and less needle debris, he adds

Firefighters tackle blaze in Royal Canadian Legion building

Firefighters got call of light smoke about 4:25 p.m.

Fashion Fridays: The basics you need for your body type

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Jan. 22 Downtown House Senior Center (5414 43 St.) in Red Deer… Continue reading

Pearman: Bohemian Waxwings the consummate nomads

It is always a treat when a winter flock of Bohemian waxwings… Continue reading

Shots from stands, women’s 3-on-3 highlight NHL skills event

ST. LOUIS — Shooting pucks from the stands and some of the… Continue reading

Canada beats U.S. in 3-on-3 women’s game at NHL all-star skills competition

ST. LOUIS — Melodie Daoust and Rebecca Johnston scored to give Canada… Continue reading

Lowry, Siakam lead Raptors past Knicks for 6th straight win

Raptors 118 Knicks 112 NEW YORK — Kyle Lowry scored 26 points,… Continue reading

Dems say oust Trump or he’ll betray again; ‘He is who he is’

WASHINGTON — Closing out their case, House Democrats warned Friday in Donald… Continue reading

Senators may have to rein in activism in minority Parliament: new govt rep

OTTAWA — Independent senators may have to curb their enthusiasm for amending… Continue reading

Alberta woman charged with child abduction pleads guilty to lesser charge

LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — A woman in southern Alberta who was charged with… Continue reading

Most Read