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.
- 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.
- 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.