How is Frostbite Treated?

December 30, 2022

How is Frostbite Treated?

Frostbite is something that you should be concerned about when the temperatures drop. When the temperature drops below zero frostbite can happen in as little as 30 minutes of exposure to the cold. And frostbite can happen in temperatures that are below freezing, not just temperatures below zero. It’s very important to wear appropriate clothing in the winter to protect your extremities and your face from frostbite.

Diagnosis And Treatment of Frostbite

Frostbite can be very serious. There are three different stages of frostbite that range from nothing to worry about to potentially very serious.

Frostnip is the first stage of frostbite. This is a very mild type of frostbite and it’s usually your warning sign to get inside and get warm. If  you have frostnip you may experience some tingling in your hands and feet and your skin will usually get very pale and then turn red once it has warmed up. Frostnip is most common on toes, fingers, and ears when people don’t wear good socks and boots, gloves, and a hat outdoors in the cold. Typically frostnip doesn’t need treatment and will go away once you get warm and stay warm.

Superficial Frostbite

The second stage of frostbite, superficial frostbite, is a little more serious. In addition to the discoloration and tingling you would feel from frostnip your skin may develop fluid filled blisters within 12-36 hours after exposure to the cold. If you don’t go inside when you get frostnip you will develop superficial frostbite. The blisters can become very large and painful and there is a risk of infection if they burst so you should get medical treatment for superficial frostbite.

Severe Frostbite

As the name implies severe frostbite can be very serious. You may even run the risk of amputation if you get severe frostbite and it’s not treated. In addition to the symptoms of frostnip and superficial frostbite when you develop severe frostbite your skin may become rubbery and you may have trouble moving your arms and legs. After being warmed up you can develop large blisters and the skin can turn black. The lack of blood flow to the toes, fingers, and ears can mean that amputation is necessary. If you have the signs of severe frostbite you need to get medical help right away.

At Home Remedies For Frostbite

Warming up the extremities is the primary home remedy for frostbite. It should be warmed up slowly and steadily to prevent further damage. If you develop blisters don’t pop them. Keep them clean and once they break or drain watch for signs of infection. Keep them covered.

When To Seek Medical Care For Frostbite

If you develop superficial or severe frostbite you should seek medical help right away. If you avoid getting medical help you may end up with such serious damage that some of your extremities need to be amputated. You can also develop a serious infection if the blisters associated with frostbite burst.

How Urgent Care Centers Can Help Frostbite

It can be difficult to tell how serious your frostbite has just by the symptoms since all three levels of severity can have similar symptoms. If you suspect that you may have frostbite or if your skin is warm, irritated, or tingly after you are inside for more than an hour call urgent care. Call urgent care right away if blisters start to form.


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