When the skin is exposed to a very cold temperature, frost bit occurs. In freezing temperatures, frost bite occurs within minutes and it may result to tissue damage and may become an emergency situation. The common parts of the body that are susceptible to a frost bite include the hands, cheeks, ears, nose and feet. Frost bite may result in either superficial or deep soft tissue injury. With superficial frost bite, no permanent damage to the tissues occurs because the injury is often limited to the area just beneath the skin. A deep soft tissue injury in frost bite however may result in tissue death.
Assessing how severe is your frost bite
Minor frost bite is can heal and allows for complete recovery. However, the affected area may now become more sensitive to cold weather, sunburns and is at higher risk of getting frost bite. Minor frostnip may be treated at home by keeping the area warm. When you are in danger of getting frost bite, make sure you remove yourself from the cold and prevent further cold exposure. Wearing warm clothes and gloves will help keep you warm. Using hot water for washing should be avoided as this may burn the skin but you can use lukewarm water to help you relieve the frostnip symptoms. Other self management techniques to keep the body warm is to tuck the hands inside the armpit or rub your hands together to make it warm and cover the ears, nose or face with it. Signs of frost bit include prickling pain that may lead to numbness, burning sensation, swelling, blisters, pale and cold skin with waxy appearance. A black scab crust begins to appear after weeks of cold exposure. The severity of the symptom will depend upon the extent of affecting the circulation in the body where there is no sufficient blood flowing to keep the tissues warm.
First Aid management to frost bite
Frost bite is a medical situation where professional help is needed. The skin tissue may necrotize fast especially with exposure to extreme cold temperature. Conventional medical care includes removing the wet cloth and warming the affected area. If blisters begin to form, you should apply an antiseptic and cover it with a sterile dressing. Do not rub the affected area because the skin is more sensitive at this condition and it may cause further irritation and infection that will worsen the tissue injury.
First aid management to frost bite consists of warming the affected area. Immersing the feet or hand in a warm water (lukewarm) , ideally at 101 – 104 ° F temperature, will often give relief. Be cautious about using dry heat because it may cause skin burn. The skin loses its sensation during frostbite and it may increase the risk to skin burn when you use the method of heating pad, fire or hot water.