How to Recognize Symptoms of Frostbite 

 December 19, 2016

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When it gets cold out, you usually bundle up. But when you’re outdoors for prolonged periods of time, such as when you’re hiking, skiing, or doing other activities, then you want to be aware of how your extremities react. If you find your fingers are toes are becoming numb, then you’ll want to watch out for frostbite. Not only will we tell you the symptoms of frostbite, but we’ll also show you how to treat it.

Symptoms of Frostbite

Frostbite occurs when you’ve had significant exposure to the cold. This can happen when you don’t cover your hands when outdoors in freezing temperatures, or just spending time outdoors for prolonged periods of time. Frostbite can permanently damage your body, and severe cases can lead to amputation. This is why it’s so important to recognize frostbite early.

Some of the first symptoms of frostbite are signs of redness or pain in any skin area. If you see these symptoms, then you should immediately get out of the cold or protect the exposed skin.

Other symptoms include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels firm or waxy, numbness, or coldness in the affected area.

How to Treat Frostbite

If you or someone you know is suffering from frostbite, then the first thing you should do is protect the person and the affected area from the element. Get into a warm room as quickly as possible, and do not walk on frostbitten toes or feet unless absolutely necessary. This is largely because walking on them will increase damage to them.

While your first instinct may be to rub the affected area, resist the temptation. Massaging or rubbing an area affected by frostbite may just damage the area more. First, use body heat to warm the affected area; lightly bundle the frostbite area with normal body parts in a blanket or other clothing. Don’t use a heating pad, heat lamp or the heat of a stove, since affected areas are numb and can be easily burned.

Have Supplies on Hand

Always remember to have supplies on hand for emergencies, whether it’s frostbite or something else entirely. 1st Aid Supplies has what you need for first aid kits in addition to disaster and survival gear.

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