Frostbite refers to the damage to the skin and tissues resulting from exposure to extreme cold. Given here are tips on how to treat frostbite.

How To Treat Frostbite

Frostbite can be defined as the damage to the skin and the deeper tissues of the body, on being exposed to extreme cold, for a longer period of time. In freezing conditions below 0 degrees C, blood vessels closer to the skin start contracting. This reduces the blood flow to certain body parts, to dangerously low levels. If left to prevail for long, the cold and reduced blood flow can freeze the affected body parts and cause severe tissue injury. Frostbite usually develops during extreme cold conditions, when the air temperature is below -12°C (10°F). High winds, dampness, or general chilling of the body may also lead to frostbite, when the temperature is near the freezing point (0°C/32°F). The body parts likely to be injured in this case are hands, feet, noses, and ears. The person suffering from frostbite cannot "feel" frostbitten body parts, since they become numb. Once the condition is identified, immediately treatment should be provided, to prevent further damage to the tissues. Read on to get some tips on treating frostbite.
Treatment For Frostbite 
  • Immediately remove the injured person from cold conditions.
  • Immerse the frostbitten body part in a shallow container, filled with lukewarm water.
  • The temperature of water may quickly drip, since it is lukewarm and not hot. So, keep on changing the water frequently.
  • Throughout the process, try to keep the temperature of water as consistent as possible.
  • It usually takes 30 to 60 minutes to make the affected tissues soft and supple once again.
  • After the tissues get considerably pliable, prepare a bath of water, mixed with small amount of antiseptic liquid soap.
  • Immerse the affected body part in the container for about 5 minutes. This is to minimize any possible risk of infection.
  • Air-dry the injured area (which is thawed now) and apply antiseptic cream/ointment on it.
  • Next time, when you are in extreme cold conditions, take the necessary precautions, so that you don't suffer from frostbite. Wear personal protective equipments such as gloves, socks, etc. 
Important Tips 
  • Make sure that you do not allow the thawed skin tissue to freeze again. A deeper damage can be caused, if the tissue keeps freezing more often. Wait for treating the frost bite, if the person has to bear exposure to freezing temperatures any time soon.
  • Take care not to rub or massage the affected skin tissue. Severe damage can be caused, if the frostbitten tissue is rubbed.
  • Never use any heating devices, such as stoves, or fires, to treat frostbite. The affected skin becomes very sensitive and can get burnt easily.
  • Body heat can also be used to thaw frostbite to a certain extent. Placing the frostbitten tissue under the arm is one such way.
  • The frostbitten person should abstain from wearing very tightly-fitted clothes or shoes. This may impair blood circulation, which in turn will adversely affect the recovery from frostbite.
  • If the frostbite is too severe, it is better to consult a doctor than trying to treat it on your own.

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