Frostbite

Thousands of people suffer frostbite each winter. For some, it's a total loss of feeling in their fingers, for others it's worse. Here are some reminders to help you stay warm as you enjoy your time outside.

Frostbit finger

Did you know?

Frostbite is actually a type of burn? After the skin thaws, redness, swelling and blisters may appear similar to a traditional burn.

Enjoying Wintertime Outdoors

  • Dress in layers and keep your clothing dry.
  • Wear mittens instead of gloves, fingers are warmer together.
  • Drink responsibly in cold weather — alcohol creates a sensation of warmth, but it actually decreases core body temperature.
  • Bundle up your kids, and monitor how long they're outside.
  • On the very cold days limit your time outdoors.
  • If you notice any symptoms, like tingling and burning, get out of the cold immediately.

Stages of Frostbite

First Degree Frostbite:

A mild form of frostbite in which your skin turns red and feels really cold.

Second Degree Frostbite:

In this stage the reddened skin will turn white or very pale. Upon warming, blisters may appear. This results in some tissue and nerve damage.

Third Degree Frostbite:

Affecting all layers of the skin, the area will turn black and hard as tissue dies.

First Aid for Frostbite

  • Avoid rubbing the area, especially with snow.
  • Don't walk on frostbitten feet or use a frostbitten hand.
  • Avoid thawing the affected area if you are far from help or if there is a chance of refreezing.
  • If you are in a permanent shelter and can thaw a frostbitten area:
    • Immerse area for 20-45 minutes in tepid water (same temperature as a hot tub), never use hot water.
    • As it thaws, it will turn pink or bright red and sensation may return.
    • Do not put salves or creams on frostbite.
    • Protect area from refreezing and seek medical attention.

Never Forget

Many accidents that we see can be prevented by following one simple rule... Drink responsibly. Alcohol affects judgment, coordination, balance, and can increase your chances of having an avoidable accident.