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Outdoor construction workers take precaution for extreme temperatures

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Construction workers, like Kevin Thorp, have a job to do.

And that job includes working outside -- even if the wind chills are in the negatives.

"Using hand warmers, gloves, covering your head up, face," says Thorp, a Ryan Construction superintendent said of how he prepares to work in the cold.

On freezing days, construction workers are encouraged to not only wear their normal equipment, but to also really bundle up, and even take frequent breaks or go home if necessary.

"I've always said that if you can't make it the whole day and you need to warm up, go ahead and take off," Thorp says.

Doctors at the University of Iowa say the same thing, if you want to avoid frost bite and hypothermia.

"People who work outside will often perspire underneath their clothing," Dr. Daniel Miller says. "and if your clothes get damp, then that's gonna wick the heat away from your body much more quickly."

Dr. Miller says if your clothes get wet, to switch them out for dry clothes.

He also says if you see signs of frost bite or hypothermia, like skin blistering or confusion, seek medical attention right away.

"In very severe cases, you can even get freezing of the tissues, and they'll become dry and actually start to look like a mummy," he says.

As for Thorp, he will tough this one out.

"Can't wait for spring!" he says.

Doctors also say a quick fix to less severe frost bite is submerging the affected area of skin in warm water until feeling and color return to normal.

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