Frostbite Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Frostbite - Freezing Of Skin

What is frostbite?

Basically, frostbite is a medical term which is used when your skin and tissues under it get freezes. Normally in frostbite, the skin gets extremely cold, followed by numbness, pale and hard. Usually, it affects smaller and body areas that are more exposed for example chin, cheeks, ears, nose, toes and fingers.

Moreover, its initial stage frostnip tends to irritate your skin however doesn’t cause any lasting damage. Mild instances of frostbite can be treated using first-aid measures, though, severe frostbite needs medical attention because it can harm your bones, muscles, tissues and skin, whilst lead to serious complications for example nerve damage and infection.

What are the symptoms of frostbite?

Symptoms of frostbite are:

  • Numbness.
  • A burning or cold feeling.
  • Waxy or hard-looking skin.
  • Pale, white, red or yellowish-gray skin.
  • A little painful, itching or prickly sensation.
  • Blistering.
  • Clumsiness because of muscle and joint stiffness.

What causes frostbite?

It occurs when the skin and its underlying tissues tend to freeze. A common trigger known to cause frostbite includes cold-weather exposure. Certain conditions, also known to lead frostbite are:

  • Not covering your skin properly during cold weather exposures.
  • Wearing a dress not warm enough to protect from wet, windy or cold weather.
  • Prolonged stay in a cold place.
  • Touching freezing items for example cold packs or ice.

What are the risk factors of frostbite?

Certain factors known to increase the chances of frostbite include:

  • Alcohol abuse.
  • Certain medical condition which affects the ability to respond or feel cold, for example diabetes, exhaustion, dehydration etc.
  • Smoking.
  • Previous cold injury or frostbite.

What are the potential complications of frostbite?

Certain complications linked with frostbite are:

  • Infection.
  • Gangrene.
  • Frostbite arthritis.
  • In case frostbite tends to damage the growth of bone’s plate in children, it can lead to growth defects.
  • Increased chances of recurrent frostbite.
  • Lasting nerve abnormalities or numbness (affected area).
  • Sensitivity to cold.

How is frostbite treated?

Usually, its diagnosis is obvious based on the patient’s symptoms and skin appearance. The doctor can suggest few tests for example MRI, bone scan, X-ray in order to find out its severity and any damage cause to the muscle or bone.

How is frostbite treated?

Its treatment includes

  • Medical treatment.
  • First-aid measures.

However, what treatment option is best for your case is depended upon the severity frostbite. Have a look to its treatment options in a deeper prospective:

  • Fist aid measures:  Warming your affected skin slowly, is essential for treating the condition. Thus:
  1. Protect it against further exposure.
  2. In case your clothes become wet, change them as soon as possible.
  3. Put your frostbitten feet or hands in bearable warm water gradually.
  4. Avoid walking in your frostbitten toes or feet.
  • Medical treatment:
  1. Dressings.
  2. Rewarm the skin.
  3. Debridement.
  4. Hydrotherapy.
  5. Oral antibiotics.
  6. Thrombolytics.
  7. Surgery.
  8. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

By : Natural Health News


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