Frostbite is the name, which has been given to the condition occurs when the skin is exposed to extreme cold conditions for a long period of time. This is arises due to the freezing of the skin as well as tissues, which are lying under the surface of the skin. The condition can prove highly dangerous as sometimes the freezing of muscles, nerves as well as blood vessels may also take place.
Your skin tends to freeze immediately after it gets exposed to the temperature below the freezing levels. Even if the temperature is above freezing, the skin can freeze if it is wet and is exposed to severe wind chills.
The development of frostbite may also take place when the contact between your skin and cold surface occurs. This results into the immediate freezing of the skin due to the cold temperature of the frozen surface.
Here, we have tried to provide the detailed information about the problem of frostbite along with its various symptoms. Read on to know more about the treatment measures of frostbite which can be helpful in treating the condition.
What are the Common Symptoms of Frostbite?
The symptoms of frostbite are mainly classified into three major categories. The symptoms of mild condition of frostbite are different than that of severe and extreme severe cases.
The common symptoms of frostbite, which usually appear are listed below.
- Numb or prickly feeling of the skin
- Pain around the affected area
- Discoloration of skin such as gray, yellow, white or red.
In the severe condition, the symptoms of frostbite, which may appear are,
- Blackening of skin
- Development of blisters on the skin
- Stiff joints or muscles
- Difficulty in moving muscles
It is important to take immediate medical help if you are suffering from the condition of frostbite and especially if you are experiencing the following symptoms along with the condition.
- Swelling or redness
- Discharge from the affected area
What are the causes of frostbite?
The major aspect which causes the condition of frostbite is the prolonged exposure of the skin to the cold temperatures. You may also cause frostbite due to the following situations.
- Absence of appropriate dressing for the cold and freezing conditions
- Weakness due to medical conditions such as hunger, dehydration, injury, physical labor as well as alcohol consumption
- Smoking, which narrows the blood vessels and causes slow blood circulation
- Diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression and others, which causes malfunction to your ability of notice and response to cold.
- Certain medication consumption
It is important to note that elder people and young children are more on the risk of causing the condition of frostbite.
Diagnosis of frostbite
Generally physical examination takes place to diagnose the problem of frostbite. Your doctor may also asked for the information about the frostbite problem as well. In more severe conditions, your doctor may also ask for X-rays to find out whether it has damaged the muscles as well as bone.
How to Cure Frostbite – Treatment
The most preferred way of treating frostbite is by warming the affected area with the help of warming water. Your doctor may also wrap the affected area after sterilizing it. Frostbite turns the skin into raw and during this time your skin can get infections. If your skin is infected, your doctor may prescribe a dose of antibiotics.
In the extreme cases of frostbite, the damage can be done to muscles, bones as well as nerves. To treat this, your doctor may suggest amputation surgery. Another way is that your doctor may helps in repairing the damaged tissues with the help of drugs knows as thrombolytics, which will be provided to the patient intravenously.
Even though these drugs may cause severe bleeding, these are the last option to keep the patient away from the method of amputation.
Apart from this, you may try few things listed below to treat the condition of frostbite.
- Protect yourself from cold by seeking shelter
- Tucking your hands under your arms helps in warming them
- Get rid of any wet clothing or jewelry and stay inside
- Warm yourself by covering your body in the blanket
- Consume warm drinks, if you think you are experiencing dehydration.
- Stay away from heat sources such as lamps or heating pads as these things can burn the already frostbitten skin.
- Take the medical help from the expert as soon as possible
Prevention of Frostbite
The most important thing to do in order to prevent frostbite is to dress properly for the cold weathers. Keep yourself informed about the weather report before stepping out of the house. When the weather is freezing and the temperature is below the freezing point, it is recommended not to stay outside for a long time.
Wearing multiple layers of cloth, while stepping out in cold weather is recommended. It is also important to check no part of the skin is exposed. Also, ensure that your clothing is waterproof and loose-fitting.
For the times, when you cannot anticipate the problem of frostbite, it is will be helpful to keep an emergency kit with you all the time, while stepping outside, especially in colds. The kit should consist important things such as gloves, blankets, hats as well as some non-perishable snacks.
Complications of frostbite
In cold weather, the direct impact occurs on your blood circulation and through it on your heart as well as lungs. These two organs play a key role in preventing the condition of hypothermia by producing enough heat. Hypothermia, on the other hand, is the condition in which the body cannot produce enough heat to keep your body warm.
Therefore, it becomes important to treat hypothermia before frostbite, even though frostbite may also result into the permanent damage to the affected area. Hypothermia is more serious and may even prove life-threatening in certain circumstances. The development of frostbite usually takes place on your cheeks, chin, ears, nose, and toes.