• Frostbite

  • Winter in Colorado

    Frostbite is freezing of the skin and underlying tissue. It occurs after prolonged exposure to cold. Rewarming of the skin is essential. There may be a loss of function or sensation in the frostbitten area.

    Signs of Frostbite

    • The skin may turn pale, white or often blue.
    • Blisters may appear as the skin warms.
    • Do not try to pop the blisters; they are best left intact when possible.


    Treatment

    • Apply warm compresses to the affected area. Don't use hot water or rub the affected area.
    • If your feet are frostbitten, you should limit walking as much as possible.
    • Aspirin or ibuprofen may be taken to relieve the pain and help increase circulation.
    • Check with your doctor prior to taking medicine.
    • Call your doctor: If your exposed skin is discolored or signs of infection develop,
      such as increased pain, swelling, redness, fever or discharge from the affected area.


    Prevention

    • Cover exposed areas of skin and keep dry.
    • Wear insulated layers and a wind and water protective outer layer.
    • Hands, feet, nose and ears are common areas of frostbite, so be sure to wear a hat, scarf, warm socks and mittens to cover these areas.
    • Drink fluids for rehydration.
    • Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes.
    • If you have been frostbitten before, do not expose the areas to cold as these areas are susceptible to reinjury.