Frostbite: what it is and what to do with it

Frostbite: what it is and what to do with it, Iryna Chyrkova

This year the winter in Manitoba is as severe as ever.

Therefore, more and more people are turning to hospitals with frostbite. The WRHA is concerned that people underestimate the severity of frost. In most cases, frostbite and such terrible consequences as pain, numbness and possible amputation can be avoided.

Due to the increasing complaints from city residents, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority decided to raise their awareness about frostbite.

So, frost usually affects such parts of the body like arms, legs, face and ears – those areas that most often can be opened and exposed to cold air. At temperatures lower than -5, ice crystals can already form on the skin and in tissues under it.

Strong wind days are especially dangerous. If you do not start treating the frozen part of the body in time, it can lead to permanent freezing.

There are four signs of frostbite:

1.Skin becomes red.

2. The person starts feeling pain.

3. White spots appear on the skin.

4. Frostbite skin loses sensitivity.

In addition to this, the body temperature can become lower, blistering of the skin, or even swelling can be seen.

In case of the first symptoms, it is urgent to take action.

You should start with warming the frostbitten area. Do not use too hot water as it can harm the skin. It is necessary to heat the skin until it becomes pink, this indicates normalization of blood circulation.

In addition to this, a person should drink a lot of hot tea or other drinks to warm the body from the inside. Warming the skin can be quite painful. This should not sound scary. It is also worth remembering that the whole process can take at least an hour.

However, there are several things that people start doing and bring harm to their health:

1. You should not rub the skin.

2. You should not drink alcohol to warm the body.

3. You should not try to warm the legs and arms through exercising.

4. If blisters appear, do not break them.

Only if frostbite is insignificant, you can cope with this problem yourself. However, if the symptoms indicate the severity of the situation, you should immediately consult a doctor. Otherwise, there may be very terrible consequences.

Such cases are:

1. Skin begins to darken and to turn black.

2. There are a lot of white spots.

3. A person feels acute pain or vice versa complete lack of sensitivity in the frostbitten area.

4. A large number of blisters appear.

It is worth remembering that the best way to protect health is to avoid frostbite. So, when you go out, put on very warm clothes. It will be better to wear several medium warm clothes than one very warm. In this way, you can feel comfortable both indoors and outdoors. Outerwear should be made of waterproof fabrics. Mittens are always a better option than gloves because your fingers are not separated from each other and can keep warm better. It is also very important to protect your face and head, so always wear a warm hat and scarf that will save you from wind and snow.

At air temperatures lower than -30 C, do not open the skin for more than 10-20 minutes.

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Frostbite Winnipeg Regional Health Authority freezing
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