The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UIHC reports influx in frostbite cases after week of extreme temperatures

In a press release, UIHC encouraged individuals to limit exposure and seek immediate treatment.
Grace Smith
Community members walk through downtown Iowa City on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024. The University of Iowa issued a Hawk Alert around 2 p.m. Saturday with a National Weather Service wind chill warning from Jan. 13 to Jan. 16. The Hawk Alert statement said a -40 degree wind chill would occur and frostbite within 10 minutes of being outside is possible.

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics reported an influx of patients with frostbite in the past week due to extreme temperatures. Parts of eastern Iowa experienced wind chill of up to -40 degrees Fahrenheit this past weekend, as voters prepared to attend the Iowa caucuses Monday.

Iowa City Community School Districts announced school closure on Jan. 12 and University of Iowa students attended classes via Zoom on Tuesday due to extreme cold and risk of frostbite.

Currently, over a dozen individuals are being seen for frostbite at UIHC. They are receiving inpatient treatments at the center and the hospital has received over 40 calls to its clinics in the past week, according to a statement sent to The Daily Iowan by the hospital.

Conditions that can contribute to frostbite include dampness, temperature, and the duration of exposure

The center’s director, Lucy Wibbenmeyer, said the majority of patients being treated are geriatric patients and stranded motorists. 

“It is important to remember to be prepared as subzero temperatures continue this week,” Wibbenmeyer said.

Frostbite can be treated by using warm, not hot, water to rapidly re-warm the affected areas, the statement said. The affected area must be continuously warmed to prevent worsening the injury.

All injured areas should be kept elevated and protected at all times, Wibbenmeyer said.

The hospital’s statement urges those who brave the cold to dress in layers and minimize exposure as much as possible.

Those driving should ensure their vehicle has a full tank of gas and that they are traveling with an extra set of winter clothes. If stranded, individuals are encouraged by the hospital to stay in their vehicles while waiting for help.

For those who believe they are suffering from frostbite, the hospital encourages seeking immediate medical attention as the risk of amputation increases the longer the injury is left untreated.

“Time is of the essence,” Wibbenmeyer said.

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About the Contributors
Shreya Reddy, News Reporter
Shreya Reddy is a freshman at the University of Iowa. Coming from a small town in Kansas, Shreya is double majoring in English and Political Science on the Pre-Law track. Before coming to the Daily Iowan, she has written for her neighborhood magazine and her schools literary magazine as well as writing an investigative journalism piece.
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.