NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The cold weather is more than uncomfortable, it can also be a health risk if you’re not careful.

As CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez explained, from frost nip to dehydration, there are a number of ways you can end up in the emergency room.

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Like the old song goes; baby it’s cold outside — and the best way to stay safe in the frigid weather is to go inside where it’s warm, or at least warmer. But not everyone can follow that advice, so they sometimes end up in the E.R. where Dr. Robert Glatter gets to see them.

“It’s to be expected, the more people are out through the day and no properly covered then we would expect them to come in,” Dr. Glatter said.

While people talk about frostbite in this weather, it’s actually very rare in urban settings. Much more common is frost nip.

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“That’s the numbness, the redness of the skin, the pins and needles feeling, and that’s reversible. If you start to feel those symptoms, you need to come in and put your hands under warm water for a few minutes, and that should resolve it,” Dr. Glatter said, “Never put your hands under hot water, that can lead to burns and blistering.”

The key to staying safe and warm in this weather, especially when there’s a lot of wind chill, is to cover all exposed skin. Starting with a good pair of gloves — mittens are actually warmer. Earmuffs are also good, but a good hat is better. And don’t forget about your feet; boots and a good pair of woolen socks can keep your feet warm.

“You don’t want to wear a sock that is to heavy or too tight, because that actually constricts blood flow, and makes things worse. Puts you at more risk for frost bite,” Dr. Glatter said.

Surprisingly, you can get dehydrated in icy temperatures. That cloud of breath you see in cold weather is condensed water vapor that you’re losing from your lungs. It’s important to drink water and avoid caffeine and alcohol — it might make you feel warmer, but they also dehydrate.

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