Winter Health Risks: Frostbite

February 26, 2015

This winter we have experienced numerous stretches of very cold temperatures that pose a wide variety of health risks, from colds to frostbite and hypothermia. AFC Urgent Care in South Plainfield is dedicated to keeping you and your family happy and healthy all season long and would like to remind you of the dangers of exposure to extreme cold.
Today we would like to focus on the threat of frostbite, a condition in which the skin and underlying tissues freeze. This is especially dangerous for children, the elderly, and people with poor circulation or anemia who are at greater risk for frostbite. Though most common on extremities like fingers, toes, and the nose, frostbite can develop in minutes anywhere on the skin – even skin covered by clothing.
Knowledge is the key to frostbite prevention and the serious complications it can cause. Some signs of frostbite include:

  • Intense cold, prickling, burning, tingling, or itching sensation
  • Numbness
  • Red, white, blue, or greyish – yellow skin
  • Hard or waxy-looking skin
  • Blistering and intense pain after rewarming, in severe cases

Frostbite ranges in severity from mild to serious and can result in permanent tissue, muscle, and nerve damage if left untreated. Luckily, there are many easy steps you can take to stay safe in the cold.
C – Cover Up. Frostbite occurs most often with direct wind and cold exposure. Be sure to cover your head, nose, fingers, face, and ears with warm protective clothing. Cover the rest of your body with windproof and waterproof layers.
O – Omit alcohol. Alcohol makes you lose heat faster so drink water and other warm drinks when planning to spend time outdoors.
L – Look for signs. It’s important to stay aware of your body and look for any signs of frostbite.
D – Display extreme caution. Pay close attention to winter weather advisories for extreme cold and winds so you can be prepared well in advance.
If you believe you may have frostbite, visit AFC Urgent Care in South Plainfield for immediate care. We offer convenient extended hours seven days a week: Monday- Friday from 8am to 8pm and weekends from 8am to 5pm.

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