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Prevent Frostbite with These Tips

By Leonid Frenkel, DO | Internal Medicine 

With the arrival of winter, so, too, comes the risk of developing frostbite. Frostbite occurs when your body is exposed to extremely cold temperatures, causing the loss of feeling and color in affected areas. Frostbite can result in serious and sometimes permanent bodily injury. Severe cases of frostbite can lead to amputation of the affected area.

Signs and symptoms of frost bite include:

  • Redness or pain in any skin area;
  • White or grayish-yellow skin area;
  • Skin that feels unusually firm or waxy; and
  • Numbness

It’s important to point out that individuals may not realize they have frostbite because their frozen tissues are numb, causing further harm. Those who are most susceptible to developing frostbite are infants and older adults, both of whom may have a harder time producing and retaining body heat. Additionally, if you have poor blood circulation or if you do not dress properly for extreme cold weather, you are at greater risk for developing frostbite.

It’s best to avoid the outdoors during the extreme cold. If you must be outside, be sure to protect your body from the elements by covering your nose, ears, toes, cheeks, chin, and fingers in warm, dry clothing including wearing a:

  • Hat;
  • Scarf or knit mask that covers the face and mouth;
  • Water-resistant coat;
  • Mittens or gloves;
  • Several layers of loose-fitting clothing; and
  • Water-resistant boots

Frostbite requires medical attention because it can damage skin, tissues, muscle, and bones.

Be sure to keep yourself and your loved ones safe and warm this winter season by following these helpful tips!

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention