Frostbites occur due to the freezing of tissues. It occurs when the body is exposed to temperatures below the freezing point. Due to freezing the blood flow slows down, which results in numbness of the skin. Mild frostbites may not cause permanent damage to the skin, but severe frostbites can damage the nerves permanently. In severe cases, the tips of the toes or fingers can separate off. Frostbites usually occur in toes, fingers, cheeks, nose and ears. Blood clots can also be caused in the blood vessels; this further disrupts the blood flow.
Anyone who is exposed to low temperatures can get frost bites.
Soldiers are usually exposed to extreme temperatures and they are at higher risks of getting frostbites. People living in higher altitudes are also exposed to frostbites. Such people should take extra care of them in winters.
- Feeling cold and firmness in the affected area
- Feeling of numbness
- Burning sensations or tickling feeling can be felt
- Affected area turns white and becomes hard
- Skin turns red
- Swelling and blood-filled blisters can be formed in the skin or near nail regions
- Pain in the affected area can be felt
- Keep yourself warm
- Don’t stay in wet clothes
- Keep the affected area covered
- Use heaters, heating pads, fireplace to keep yourself warm
- Do not rub the affected area as it can increase the chances of further tissue damage
- Keep yourself covered always
- Don’t walk much if you are having frostbites on your toes.
- Drink warm non-alcoholic drinks
- Remove jewellery like rings from the toes and fingers as they can further block the blood flow
- Place cotton or bandages between fingers to prevent rubbing
- See a doctor if the symptoms are more severe