getty images/The Power of Forever Photography
This Winter seems like it’s going to be a rough one for many people across the United States and doctors worry that frostbite could be a major health risk during the winter months. But what is Frostbite and how do I treat it? Frostbite is medical condition that severely damages the skin and underlying tissues caused by extreme cold. It is most likely to happen in body parts farthest from the heart and those with large exposed areas. In some cases frostbite can cause blisters, blackened limbs, gangrene, and even damage to tendons, muscles, nerves and bones. Below we’ve listed 5 ways to prevent frostbite and how to treat it.
1. Beware of Frostbites Contributing Factors
When preparing for cold conditions you must beware of frostbites contributing factors such as extreme cold, wet clothes, high winds, and poor circulation.
2. Wear Suitable Clothing
Frostbite attacks the skin, so protect yourself with layers of clothing. Wear mittens (not gloves); wind-proof, water-resistant, layered clothing; two pairs of socks and a hat which covers your ears.
3. Do Not Drink Alcohol or Smoke
Smoking an alcohol use can cause poor circulation. In order to fit frostbite properly you must have open and clear blood vessels
4. Call Your Doctor
If normal feeling and color does not return to your limbs after being in the cold for a long period of time, you may want to consult with your doctor.
5. Remove All Jewelry And Wet Clothing
Remove all your Jewelry before heading outside in the cold. Jewelry will freeze and cause even more damage to your limbs when frostbitten.
Frostbite DO NOT’s
- Do NOT thaw out a frostbitten area if it cannot be kept thawed. Refreezing may make tissue damage even worse.
- Do NOT use direct dry heat (such as a radiator, campfire, heating pad, or hair dryer) to thaw the frostbitten areas. Direct heat can burn the tissues that are already damaged.
- Do NOT rub or massage the affected area.
- Do NOT disturb blisters on frostbitten skin.