Frostbite Symptoms and Signs
Signs and symptoms of frostbite include:
- The areas of the body affected by frostbite feel cold and firm.
- Burning, tingling, stinging, or numbing sensations
- Clumsiness can result from impaired motor control.
- Swelling, redness, loss of sensation, and white plaques on the skin
- Blisters filled with blood
Frostbite and cold weather-related injuries facts
- Cold weather-related injuries occur with and without freezing of body tissues.
- Cold weather-related injuries include chilblains, trench foot, frostnip, and frostbite.
- Signs and symptoms may include:
- numbness, and
- changes in the color and texture of the skin.
- Treatment generally includes moving out of the cold environment, removing wet clothing, and rewarming the affected area.
- Frostbite is a serious cold weather-related injury that requires immediate medical attention and rapid rewarming. Do not thaw the affected area if there is the risk of refreezing.
- Certain individuals, such as the elderly, children, alcoholics, and the homeless, are at increased risk of developing cold weather-related injuries.
- Prevention of cold weather-related injuries is best accomplished through proper planning and preparation for cold weather.
Introduction to frostbite and cold weather-related injuries
Winter cold and snow provide a number of opportunities to get outside and participate in activities such as skiing, sledding, and snowmobiling. However, without proper protection, cold weather-related injuries can occur even when temperatures are above freezing (32 F, 0 C). This is especially true if there are high winds or if clothing is wet. In general, however, it is both the temperature and the duration of exposure that play a role in determining the extent and severity of cold weather-related injuries. This information describes the different types of cold weather-related injuries, as well as what to do to prevent and treat them prior to reaching a health care practitioner.
What type of injuries can be caused by cold weather?
Cold weather-related injuries can be divided into two general categories.
- Conditions that occur without the freezing of body tissue such as:
- trench foot, and
- Injuries that occur with the freezing of body tissue, such as frostbite.
Hypothermia is a medical condition characterized by a core body temperature that is abnormally low.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/23/2016