Frostbite: First Aid Steps And Early Signs Of It
Frostbite is a medical condition in which the tissues that are lying under the skin and the skin itself freeze because of exposure to highly cold or extreme temperatures. The body can be adversely affected with a frostbite. The body parts or areas that are affected or are most likely to have the worse of it are ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes.
Frostnip is a condition in which the frostbite is mild and has not affected the body to an extremity and thus can be treated successfully by giving first aid, although this should be judged by a licensed doctor or a licensed medical practitioner.
Below are the first aid steps to perform for a victim of frostbite:
- Move the patient to a warm area.
- Loosen any constricting clothing or jewellery which maybe limiting the blood circulation.
- Apply sterile dressing to the affected area.
- If available or possible, place fresh gauze between the fingers and the toes. This will help in absorbing the moisture and thus preventing them to stick with each other.
- Provide the person affected with frostbite with warm liquids to drink, but it should be consumed slowly and careful. Alcohol should not be given at all.
- Try rewarming the affected the body part can be helpful. This is to be done by dipping the affected body part in warm water (99 to 104 degrees F or 37 to 40 degrees C).
DO NOT try to apply dry heat, rub or re-warm the affected body part with direct heat. This should not be done because the affected tissues may refreeze and cause further damage to the body parts. But as mentioned in the first aid procedure, do move the patient to a warmer environment or a warmer area.
Important – Immediately seek medical help or contact the nearest hospital if the condition is life threatening.
Early signs of frostbite are:
- Skin numbness,
- Pale coloured patch(es) on the skin.
- Skin of the affected area feels hard and might looks waxy.
Please Note – This tutorial does not substitute a formal training in Basic Life Saving Procedures or First Aid procedures given by a licensed practitioner.
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