Natural Home Remedies for Frostnip

Frostbite is defined as injury to body tissues caused by exposure to extreme cold.  

Image of a woman bundled up for the snow

When you are exposed to extreme cold, the body will conserve energy by shutting down circulation to your extremities.  Frostbite is most common in the nose, ears, fingers, toes, cheeks, and chin. Your skin would become very cold, then red, then numb, hard, and pale. Complications of severe frostbite are infection, gangrene, and nerve damage.

With frostnip, the skin will be yellowish or whitish but the skin still will be soft.  There may be burning or stinging.

FIRST AID

The first stage of frostbite (frostnip) can be treated with first-aid.  Frostbite requires medical intervention.  If you have a fever, experience numbness or blisters, or if your skin turns white or very pale, go to a doctor ASAP.

TREATMENT FOR FROSTNIP

  • Rewarm frostbitten areas in water (104 to 108 degrees) for 15 to 30 minutes.  Test the water with an elbow; don’t put affected areas into hot water.
  • Don’t use dry heat (to avoid burning which you might not feel until it is too late).
  • As you warm up, your skin will turn red as flood flow returns and you may feel some tingling.  If the numbness or pain does not subside, you may have frostbite and must seek medical attention immediately.  Wrap the area to avoid refreezing.

PREVENTION AND PRECAUTIONS

DO

  • Stay out of the wind even if you can’t get out of the cold.
  • Warm your hands by placing them in your armpits.
  • Roll yourself into a ball.
  • Try to stay dry to conserve heat (unless the water is 104 to 108°f/40-42°C).
  • Keep your footwear on if you must walk, both to avoid refreezing and to guard against the foot swelling and blistering so that you cannot put the shoe back on.
  • Wear mittens; they are warmer than gloves.
  • Wear a stocking cap over your ears.
  • Wear loose clothing and remove jewelry from your fingers.
  • If you get stranded in your car in freezing weather, stay in your car.
  • Hydrate.  Dehydration affects your ability to feel or respond to the cold.
  • Stay calm.

DON’T

  • Don’t let frostbitten skin refreeze, which causes more damage.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, which causes heat loss.
  • Don’t smoke.  Smoking decreases circulation.
  • Do not touch metal.
  • Don’t stay at high altitudes if possible.  High altitude reduces oxygen supply to the skin.
  • Do not walk on affected feet; protect the area from cold, and don’t break blisters.
  • Don’t try to thaw the affected area if there’s any chance you may refreeze.
  • Never rub or massage affected areas as it will cause more damage.

 

 

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