What is frostbite?
Damage or freezing of any of your body’s tissues due to extremely cold conditions is called frostbite. There’s a common occurrence of frostbite especially in winter and in places where the temperature goes well below 0.
Frostbite is more common in parts of the body which are exposed such as the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin.
Frostbites require immediate medical attention because it can lead to damage to not only the skin but also to tissues, muscles and bones. Nerve damage and infection are some other complications that may occur.
Frostnip is another injury due to cold. It’s not as severe as frostbite and can be treated by warming and first-aid.
What are the symptoms of frostbite?
The stages of frostbite are as follows:
- Cold skin and a prickly sensation
- Red, white, blue skin
- Waxy-looking or hard skin
- Joint and muscle stiffness
- Blistering after rewarming
- In severe cases, skin turning completely black as the tissues die.
Some people don’t even realize that they have a frostbite because the skin becomes numb. Once the skin turns black, it may even lead to gangrene and that results in amputation. Other than this, frostbite can also cause hypothermia.
The following conditions or situations increase your chances of getting a frostbite:
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Past history of frostbite or similar injury
- Being too young or too old
- Being at a higher altitude
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, exhaustion or dehydration – they reduce your perception of pain and cold
How do I prevent Frostbite?
Frostbite sounds scary, especially if you consider the fact that it can cause hypothermia or even amputation. However, there’s not much to worry about if you keep few points in your mind:
- Limit the time spent outdoors in extremely cold weather. In cold weather, it doesn’t take too long for one to develop frostbite.
- When it’s too cold, dress in layers of warm clothing. Several layers of clothing help trap air inside which acts as a layer of protection against the cold.
- Wear hats, gloves and socks that fit well and cover all the exposed areas.
- If your clothes become wet due to snow, change them immediately. Wetness keeps your skin cold and you’re unable to warm it, which becomes dangerous especially when the temperature is below 0.
- Carry extra warm clothing with you when traveling during winter.
- Avoid alcohol. Unlike popular belief, alcohol actually lowers your core body temperature and makes your more susceptible to hypothermia.
- Drink water in order to stay hydrated
- Follow a balanced diet
- Stay active, but don’t exhaust yourself. When you’re stuck in a cold place, try to stay on the move as that helps to increase the temperature of your body. Make sure that you don’t overdo, leading yourself to exhaustion.
Mild cases should be given immediate medical attention in order to prevent them from becoming severe. Some of the commonly prescribed medicines are as follows:
Agaricus Muscarius: it’s the most common remedy for frostbite. When the frostbite itches and burns, along with trembling and twitching, this medicine is very useful.
Nitric acid: This medicine is usually prescribed to those who are extremely sensitive to pain.
Petroleum: A burning sensation, itching, numbness, tingling along with purple skin are the symptoms when this medicine is helpful.
These are some of the common medicines usually prescribed in various stages of frostbite. Unsure about what to do if you get a frostbite? ZCare Wellness’s expert doctors are here to help you. Visit our website to locate your nearest homeopathic doctor.