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Symptoms And Treatments Of Frostbite

by:  in Category : Common Health Issues

15 November, 2011

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Symptoms And Treatments Of FrostbiteFrostbite is the damage that is caused to the outer skin layer and sometimes underlying tissue when human body cools down to a level that is lesser than the acceptable core temperature levels. Frostbite does not happen instantly, it only happens when the skin gets subjected to very cold temperatures. The consequences of frostbite can be hazardous and may even lead to permanent cell damage.

Ignoring frostbite symptoms can result in an extreme loss. But it is possible to be safe this winter and keep frostbite at bay by dressing properly, especially when you have to stay outside for a long time. But in case you or someone you know experiences any of the below mentioned symptoms of frostbite, follow the treatment procedure immediately.

Symptoms Of Frostbite

Frostbite usually sets in quite quickly when body parts are exposed to excessively cold temperatures. The body parts that are affected most commonly include face, ears, and fingers. To avoid mild frostbite from turning into severe frostbite, the affected areas must be exposed to heat.

Red Skin

Many people believe that our skin turns white when we suffer from frostbite, but actually frostbite begins with white coloring of skin due to restricting of blood flow to the affected area. After this, the skin goes through different shades of red when suffering from frostbite. In case it turns purple, it is an indication that the skin is dying and the condition is serious.

Burning Sensation

With the onset of frostbite, one can feel a painful sensation consisting of throbbing, which is later replaced by tingling sensation and the area becomes painful like a bad sunburn.

Block of Wood

The affected area taking on the characteristic of block of wood is quite common when it comes to frostbite. With increase in seriousness of the condition, the sensation begins to leave the area and one can experience numbing and stiffness.

Treatment For Frostbite

It is important to bring the victim of mild frostbite to a place that is warm. If you have a cell phone, call 911 immediately. If the clothes of the frostbitten victim are wet, remove them fast. Try to put a blanket or some warm clothes over the victim’s body. You can provide first aid to the victim by slowly submerging the frostbitten areas in warm water.

Remember not to use hot water as too much heat can damage the affected area. Also do not make any attempt to rub the frostbitten parts. This is because; sometimes there are sharp ice crystals in the skin which may cause damage on rubbing.

You can also give a warm drink to the frostbitten victim; it will provide a lot of relief. However, if the victim is not awake enough to have the drink properly, do not let him touch any warm utensils. This will avoid any chances of tissue damage. Also make sure that you do not offer any drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol. Caffeine slows down the heart rate and alcohol reduces blood circulation. Both the conditions are not good for mild frostbite victims.

When you find that the frostbitten body parts have turned reddish in color and are feeling a little warm, it is time that you gently bandage those parts. Make sure that the bandages are loose. Also put cotton between toes and fingers to keep them separated. You can also elevate frostbitten areas now. This will eliminate any chances of swelling. In case you did not get a chance to call 911 earlier, seek medical help now.

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