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symptoms of frostbite Archives - Grande Prairie First Aid

Frostbite: The Most Common Freezing Injury

Frostbite is an injury wherein there is damage to the skin and its underlying tissues caused by extremely cold temperatures. The most often affected areas of the body are the extremities (e.g. fingers and toes) and exposed skin (nose, cheeks, ears and chin), with the latter being the most vulnerable to frostbite. Although it is also worthy to note that frostbite may occur even on skin covered by gloves and other protective clothing. The first stage of frostbite is frostnip. It is considered mild and does not lead to permanent damage to the skin. Other stages of frostbite will require medical help as damage may not be superficial only but may even affect the underlying tissues, muscles and bones. Sever frostbite may lead to complications, such as infection and nerve damage. When frostbite affects the blood vessels, damage is permanent and gangrene may occur. Hence, amputation of the affected area will be required. Frostbite is the most common freezing injury. Risk Factors of Frostbite When the skin is exposed to very cold temperatures, frostbite occurs. The following conditions/ lifestyle factors may increase a person’s likelihood of developing frostbite: Poor blood circulation in the legs Smoking Diabetes Raynaud’s Phenomenon, a condition characterized by intermittent ischemia of the fingers and toes of both sides, and sometimes ears and nose in cold temperatures Certain medications, such as beta blockers Symptoms of Frostbite Frostbite symptoms are usually evident. These include: Pins and needles sensation in the affected body part, which is succeeded by numbness Cold, hard and pale skin after it has been bare and uncovered for a prolonged period of time Lack...