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Frostbite – Symptoms, Prevention And Treatment

Recently, we shared information about hypothermia, and how to prevent it. With many of you working outside in the elements or enjoying outdoor winter sports, we thought it might be a good idea to give you a closer look at frostbite, what it is and how to prevent it.

Snowstorm
John Normile/Getty Images

According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention:

“Frostbite is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in affected areas. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers, or toes. Frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation. The risk of frostbite is increased in people with reduced blood circulation and among people who are not dressed properly for extremely cold temperatures.

Recognizing Frostbite

At the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin—frostbite may be beginning. Any of the following signs may indicate frostbite:

a white or grayish-yellow skin area

skin that feels unusually firm or waxy numbness

What to Do

If you detect symptoms of frostbite, seek medical care.

Get into a warm room as soon as possible.

Unless absolutely necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes—this increases the damage.

These procedures are not substitutes for proper medical care.

Prevention

Taking preventive action is your best defense against having to deal with extreme cold-weather conditions. By preparing your home and car in advance for winter emergencies, and by observing safety precautions during times of extremely cold weather, you can reduce the risk of weather-related health problems.”

Next: What You Should Know About Hypothermia

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