Medical Definition of Cold injury

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Cold injury: An injury caused by exposure to extreme cold that can lead to loss of body parts and even to death. Examples of cold injury are chilblain, trench foot, and frostbite. Cold injury occurs with and without freezing of body tissues. The young and the elderly are especially prone to cold injury, and alcohol consumption increases the risk of cold injury. It is important not to thaw an extremity if there is a risk of it refreezing. The extremity should be protected from trauma and gradually rewarmed.

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Reviewed on 10/30/2018

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