What Is Frostbite?

When the temperatures are dropping outside, you must begin to worry about frostbite. Anyone can develop frostbite on the exposed areas of their body, and it typically begins on the toes, fingers or nose. If the skin and underlying tissues on your body begin to freeze, then this is frostbite.

What Are the Symptoms Of Frostbite?

The first symptom of frostbite is numbness that makes it difficult to move your fingers or toes. This can lead to lack of motion in your hands or clumsiness while walking. Next, you will notice a bluish or white coloration on the affected skin. Without fast treatment, the affected body part will begin to swell. While you are experiencing these symptoms, you are also at a higher risk for developing dangerous hypothermia. If you have hypothermia, then your overall body temperature begins to drop drastically.

How Is Frostbite Treated?

When you spend a lot of time outside in the winter while working or enjoying physical activities, you should understand the early signs of frostbite, but this condition is also affecting the underlying tissues. After entering a warmer area, the frozen skin and underlying tissues begin to thaw, leading to complications as the ice crystals and blood clots in the small blood vessels of the body part begin to thaw. Experts don’t recommend rubbing the frostbitten body part because it can damage the tissues or cause more complications inside the blood vessels.

Types Of Frostbite

There are four levels of frostbite, and a physician in an emergency room may request medical images to determine the severity of the problem.

• First degree – bluish or reddish skin that may slough off as the tissue warms
• Second degree – clear blisters that harden, blacken and peel
• Third degree – skin discoloration, ulceration and damage to the growth plates
• Fourth degree – frozen bone, muscles and tendons leading to severe infection

You should seek medical attention right away for frostbite to prevent a tetanus infection or an amputation.

How Can You Prevent Frostbite?

You can avoid developing frostbite by avoiding cold conditions. If you must go outside, then make sure to wear multiple layers of clothing, and always, cover your hands and face. It is important to drink plenty of fluids during cold weather to help prevent frostbite. If your skin is moist from perspiration, then you are more likely to develop frostbite, so you should avoid strenuous activities.