Some first Aid for the Upcoming Winter Months: Frostbite

Winter will be here soon. Take some preventive measures to make sure you stay warm and frostbite free. Here are some remedies to remember if you encounter frostbite.

 

 

 

Prevention is always the best way to handle severe weather, therefore, when severe weather hits, stay indoors if you can.

How does frostbite occur?

The staff at the Mayo Clinic agree that when exposed to very cold temperatures, skin and its underlying tissue can freeze.

This freezing can result in frostbite.

 

What areas of the body are at risk?

The hands, feet, nose and ears.

The signs and symptoms of Frostbite

The skin may look white or grayish-yellow, and may be very cold with a hard or waxy feel to it.

It can also itch, burn or feel numb. Severe or deep frostbite may cause blistering and hardening. And when it thaws, the skin may hurt or be red.

What do you do if you suspect frostbite?

The first thing to do is get out of the cold. If you have to be outdoors, protect your hands by putting them into your armpits. Cover everything that you can- your face, nose, ears, and hands. Do not rub the affected area, and do not rub snow on the frostbite.

Once you can be indoors, remove the wet clothing and gradually warm the frostbitten areas with water 104 degrees- 107 .6 degrees F. ( 40-42 degrees C)

Wrap or cover the frostbitten areas with a warm blanket but do not use direct heat such as a stove or fireplace because they can cause more damage, and you may not feel it on your numb skin.

If you have frostbitten toes, do not walk on them, it can cause further damage.

If there is any chance that the affected areas can freeze again, do not thaw. If already thawed, wrap so they do not become frozen again.

Get Emergency Help if numbness or sustained pain remains during warming, or if blisters develop.

Frostbite can also be rated as with other burns:

1st degree: The outer layer of skin is affected. Signs and symptoms: tingling, stinging, burning. Red skin, or less often, white, yellow or pink-blue skin instead of red. Mild swelling, no blisters

2nd degree: Freezing of all layers of the skin.  Signs and symptoms include- aching and throbbing pain. Hard and frozen outer skin. Blisters filled with clear or milky fluid. Blisters form within 6-24 hours. Red swollen skin around the blisters.

3rd degree: Freezing of deep layers of the skin and tissues below the skin. Signs and symptoms include hard and frozen skin that feels like a block of wood. Blisters that look like they are filled with blood. Numbness followed by burning, throbbing or shooting pain.

Taken in part from 2 sources: The Mayo Clinic on Frostbite @ http:// www.mayoclinic.com/health/first-aid-frostbite

and Everyday health@ http://www.everydayhealth.com/