Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Avoiding Frostbite


This is a topic, I should have written about earlier but I'm doing it today because with weather being nasty and a possibility of more nasty weather later in the winter, it is an important topic.  Frostbite occurs when the skin and underlying tissues freeze. In the early stages when your skin gets cold and you have a prickly feel, there is going to be no permanent damage.  It is referred to as frost nip and one's hands can easily be warmed. As the process increases, the fingers become numb and the skin is hard and waxy.  It happens most often in cold windy weather and it can effect the skin even when covered by gloves or clothing.  

The chin, cheeks, fingers, toes, nose, and ears are the areas most likely to suffer frostbite. It is possible to have frostbite without realizing it until someone points it out.  

In general, symptoms associated with frostbite include cold skin, a prickly feeling and numbness, skin that ranges from red, to whitish, to blueish-white, grayish-yellow, purple, or brown depending on the skin. The skin becomes hard and waxy, a person becomes clumsy when joints and muscles become stiff, and blisters appear after rewarming.

These symptoms appear during one of the three stages of frostbite.  The first stage as mentioned before is frostnip. It is the mildest form of frost bite. Your fingers might become numb but as they warm, you'll feel a bit of tingling. The second stage is superficial frostbite, where the skin color undergoes slight changes, and the skin begins to feel warm.  If you rewarm the skin, you might notice the skin becomes mottled and you'll experience stinging, burning, and swelling.  Within 12 to 36 hours a fluid filled blister may appear.  

In the third stage, deep or severe frostbite, all layers of the skin and the tissues underneath are effected. The skin changes from pink to white or blue-grey and you no longer feel any cold, pain, or discomfort in the effected area.  In addition, a person's joints and or muscles may stop working.  Then within 12 to 24 hours, large fluid filled blisters form, the skin turns black, and hard due because it has died.  

It is best to see the doctor if you experience any symptoms associated with the second and third stages of frostbite, experience an increase of pain, swelling, inflammation, or weeping from frostbitten areas, you develop a fever, or you experience new and unexplained symptoms. 

If you think you can't get frostbite because the temperature is above zero, that isn't quite true.  It is possible to get frostbite if the temperature is below zero or if the wind chill drops to 25 degrees below zero.  So take care during this winter weather and be safe.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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