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Frostbite

March 29th, 2018 | Posted by corinne grace in Being Prepared - (Comments Off on Frostbite)

A frostbite is an injury caused by prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, this kind of injury freezes the skin and its underlying layers. Frostbite can lead to serious issues and may cause a limb to cease functioning and lead to gangrene which requires amputation.

Frostbite commonly occurs on extremities such as your fingers, toes, nose, ears but can also affect your cheeks, chin or lips and so on. Frostbite can also affect skin that is covered by gloves or thick clothing if the cold penetrates it.

Signs and symptoms of frostbite:

  • Cold, prickly feeling on the skin
  • Numbness
  • Discoloration of the skin to either a reddish, bluish, whitish or yellowish color

    Frostbite

    Frostbite commonly occurs on extremities such as your fingers, toes, nose, ears but can also affect your cheeks, chin or lips and so on.

  • Joint or muscle stiffness

Because frostbite causes skin numbness, you may not notice it until it has been pointed out to you.

There are also numerous factors that can contribute to increasing the risk of frostbite:

  • Under the influence of alcohol
  • Exhaustion or dehydration
  • Spending too much time outside in the cold climate, such as the homeless, those who are hiking, hunters, etc.

Different stages of frostbite:

  1. The first stage is frostnip. This is where the only the surface of the skin is frozen. This stage can be identified with signs of pain and itching then eventually numbness. Frostnip does not cause permanent damage to the skin because only the top layers are frozen.
  2. The second stage is superficial frostbite. In this stage, tissues may have ice crystals and you may start to feel warm. When you rewarm yourself, your skin may appear discolored and blisters may form after a few hours, typically a day later.
  3. The third stage is deep frostbite and can be life-threatening and lead to complications. At this stage, the freezing affects muscles up to nerves which can completely paralyze and disable limbs. If limbs or extremities are destroyed by this stage of frostbite, they can lead to gangrene and must be removed through amputation.

The most effective method to prevent yourself from being affected by frostbite is by wearing thick clothing if you are living in very cold places, once you feel the cold its best to move indoors and warm yourself. It’s also best to keep yourself dry and have your extremities covered, such as your ears, hands and feet.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on frostbite is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize the indications of this condition by taking a first aid and CPR class with one of our training providers.

Dealing with frostbite in children

February 13th, 2018 | Posted by corinne grace in Basic First Aid Skills - (Comments Off on Dealing with frostbite in children)

Frostbite is an injury due to freezing of the skin and underlying tissues. Children are easily affected by frostbite than with adults. The exposed skin becomes severely cold and red, eventually becomes numb, pale and hard. It usually happens on the toes, fingers, ears, nose, chin and cheeks.   It can also happen in skin covered with gloves or other clothing.

Symptoms of frostbite

  • Numbness
  • Skin becomes cold and a prickling feeling
  • The color of the skin becomes white, red, bluish-white or grayish-yellow
  • Clumsiness due to stiffness of the muscles and the joints
  • Hard or waxy-looking skin
  • Sometimes, blisters will form after rewarming

Causes

frostbite

Clumsiness due to stiffness of the muscles and the joints.

  • Direct contact with ice, freezing metals or very cold liquids
  • Staying out in the cold and wind for long periods of time
  • Wearing clothing that is not suitable for the condition such as protection against wind, cold, wet weather or tight clothing.

Treatment

  • If the child is outside, bring him/her inside and away from the freezing weather and stay in a warmer area. Another alternative is staying inside a car, old house, in a tent or a cave.
  • Remove wet clothing and a jewelries present in the affected area to prevent difficulties in removing them when the area is swelling. It will reduce flow of blood in the area and worsen the condition.
  • Wrap the child in warming blankets on the body and wrap the affected area with bandages or any kind of thick covers such as jackets or coats to raise the internal temperature of the body. Avoid using hair dryer, heating pad, hot water to prevent further irritation and worsen the condition.
  • Warm the affected areas using warm water for at least 30 minutes. Avoid using hot water to prevent burns on the skin and delays the healing. Place clean cotton balls between affected toes and fingers after rewarming. Wrap the warmed areas using clean bandages to prevent refreezing.
  • Provide pain medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to lessen the pain.
  • Avoid popping blisters that forms on the affected area to prevent development of infections.

More Information

The details posted on this page on frostbite is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs of frostbite in children, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.