What you Need to Know About Frostnip and Frostbite

When the weather outside is cold and windy, you may not have the luxury of spending the day at home snuggled up under a blanked with a hot drink. The temperature and wind conditions may change after you have left your home and even though you have put on warm clothing, you may not be entirely prepared. In the unfortunate instance that you have car trouble and have to wait for a tow or get stuck while driving in cold weather, you’ll find that the temperature in your vehicle will drop quickly unless you have an emergency kit with items to help you stay warm. In each of these instances you could be at risk of exposure to frostnip and frostbite.

Frostnip and Frostbite: What you Need to Know to Protect Yourself

•   Difference Between Frostnip and Frostbite

Frostbite is a type of cold weather injury where the skin or a part of the body freezes. Once that happens, it can cause tissue damage and in severe cases, may result in skin damage or loss of a body part. If the wind is strong enough, a person’s skin can start to freeze in less than 10 minutes. Frostbite symptoms are as follows:

•   Numbness

•   Redness or pain

•   Skin may appear white or greyish-yellow

•   Firm or waxy quality to skin

Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite where only the skin is affected. It appears yellow or white, but feels soft to the touch. The affected area tingles or burns.

•   What you Should do if you Know or Suspect Frostnip

Warm up the affected area gradually. Don’t put the frost nipped skin under hot water or hot air; it could cause a burn - you may not be able to feel the damage until it is too late. Do not rub or try to massage the area, it may cause further damage.

•   How to Respond to a Frostbite Injury

Gradually warm the skin using either body heat or warm water. Be careful not to burn the skin, since the person will not be able to feel anything in the affected area at first. Don’t rub or massage the area to try to restore feeling.

If sensation doesn’t start to return soon, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number. If you are planning to go out again right away, don’t try to thaw out. It could make the frostbite worse.

Winter can be a challenging time for your skin, especially the skin on your feet. Contact Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M for an appointment to discuss any health concerns today.