Important Frostbite Facts to Know
Posted on Feb 07, 2017 2017-10-04T13:53:04+00:00 0 Uncategorized Emergency Medical Care
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Frostbite is one of the hallmark winter dangers that can change a winter outing from a pleasant experience to a nightmare pretty quickly. If you aren’t keen on the idea of potentially losing a limb to frostbite, read on for our answers to your burning questions about frostbite:

What Are the First Signs of Frostbite?

The first sign of frostbite is usually pale yellowish or red skin on the affected area. The skin won’t turn bluish or black until advanced stages of frostbite when circulation is extremely limited and the subcutaneous tissue starts to become frostbitten.

What is ‘Frostnip’?

Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite that usually doesn’t change the skin permanently if it is caught and treated early enough. It starts with color changes to the skin (from pale to red) and discomfort in the area. If you are noticing pain or tingling in your fingers or toes and the skin appears to be changing color, it is time to go inside and warm up.

What Does Frostbite Feel Like?

While sensations may be different for everyone, usually the first sensation will be extreme coldness, pins and needles or pain in the area. In the more advanced stages of frostbite the skin may start to feel warm and when the skin thaws, blood-filled blisters may develop in the area. Medical treatment should be sought if you believe you have experienced the latter stages of frostbite.

What Does Frostbite Look Like?

The skin will change color depending on the various stages of frostbite. Usually starting with paleness, progressing to reddish and finally to black or blue.

What Part of the Body is Most Likely to be Affected?

Frostbite most often affects the extremities (fingers and toes) as well as the nose, ears or cheeks.

How Long Does it Take for Frostbite to Set in?

Depending on the temperature and wind chill factor, frostbite can actually begin in as little as 5 minutes of exposure to extreme freezing temperatures.

How Do You Warm Someone With Frostbite?

If you are able to get to a home or warm place with running water, try to soak the affected are in warm (not hot) water for 30 minutes. This process will likely be painful, taking over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like Advil can help with the pain and inflammation. Thanks for visiting EMC! Keep an eye out for a future post on winter safety to see how you can avoid getting frostbite or other winter dangers. Stay safe in the winter cold!