GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As West Michigan braces for the worst winter storm it’s seen in years, it’s important to be aware of the signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Dr. Craig Bilbrey, the medical director at the Butterworth Emergency Department, said people need to be prepared when they go outside. Anything could happen, like a crash or a slip on the sidewalk.

“Anytime somebody goes outside, they need to be prepared to spend a longer period of time outside than what they would expect,” Bilbrey said.

He said you should watch for the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. The warning signs of frostbite include pain and tingling, redness or blanching, numbness, blistering after re-warming and muscle stiffness.

If you start showing signs of frostbite, go inside.

“Go inside and warm that area up. Generally if you still have sensation and it’s painful, everything is going to recover just fine,” he said.

He said you can put lukewarm water over the area, but you should not use hot water. You should also avoid more exposure to the cold.

The signs of hypothermia include shivering, confusion, exhaustion, slurred speech and memory loss, Bilbrey.

If you aren’t able to get into a warm home, there are several warming stations open in West Michigan. Call  211 to get information about the closest warming center near you.