Stay safe this winter by learning the important facts about Frostbite. Knowledge is the first step in protecting yourself.
What is Frostbite?
Frostbite is an injury to the skin caused by exposure to cold temperatures that results in loss of feeling and color in the affected areas.
Common Affected Areas
According to Dr. Erik Alexander, board-certified dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology, “Frostbite most commonly affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers and toes. Severe forms of frostbite can cause permanent damage and may lead to amputation.”
Who is at Risk?
You may have a greater risk of developing frostbite if you have poor blood circulation and/or are not properly dressed for extremely cold temperatures.
Symptoms of Frostbite
“If you start noticing redness or pain in any skin area you need to get out of the cold or protect yourself from continued exposure,” added Dr. Alexander. “If your skin becomes white or grayish-yellow, feels unusually firm or waxy and/or has numbness, you are experiencing early signs of frostbite. Most individuals who aren’t looking for the signs are often unaware of their frostbite because frozen tissues are numb.”
If you have signs of minor frostbite, get into a warm room as soon as possible. If the frostbite is affecting your feet or toes do not continue to walk as it may cause further damage.
Immerse the affected area in warm – not hot – water. Be sure to check the water temperature with a part of your body not affected by frostbite to make sure it’s not too hot. Lastly, do not use a heating pad, heat lamp or heat from a wood stove or fireplace to warm up. Affected areas are numb and can easily burn. If you are suffering from a more severe form of frostbite, please seek immediate medical attention.
Check weather conditions prior to heading out. Be properly dressed for the conditions and seek shelter once you start noticing tingling or redness. It is also important to be prepared in case you end up in the elements under an emergency situation. Pack your vehicle with a blanket and extra boots, gloves and hats in case you end up stranded.
At Forefront Dermatology, we know that life is all about the moments when you don’t need us. That’s why we’re here for all the moments when you do. We offer comprehensive and compassionate care for all skin conditions and create customized treatment plans for all ages – even the tiniest of patients! Find a location near you today.