Frostbite can come on quite quickly if you are exposed to the elements for any extended period of time, and it can cause serious complications, including the loss of an extremity or even death, so it is helpful to know how to recognise and treat it before the situation becomes dangerous. If you are in an accident or trapped somewhere with direct exposure to the cold, you should be on your guard, looking out for the signs of frostbite as soon as you can. Here are some tips on handling yourself with frostbite.
Call for an ambulance as soon as your accident happens so that you know someone is on the way even if it will take them a while. If you are unable to use a phone for help then try calling out to see if anyone can hear and help you. It is crucial that you get help as soon as possible.
Work out your level of frostbite
Frostbite has three levels of severity, and whichever level you are at you should start to treat the frostbite as soon as you can. Frostbite starts with redness and numbness of the skin, or painful sensations. This progresses to white or greyish skin and hardening, and finally the skin can turn black, there will be complete numbness and blisters formed on the skin.
Warm up the area that is affected
Use whatever tools you have at your disposal to heat up the affected area. If you have nothing else, then simply your own body heat can help. Try tucking your hand into your armpit for frostbitten fingers, for example. Remove any wet clothing.
Apply a dressing
This will help to stop infection, or any further trauma to the frostbitten areas.
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Date Published: 18th January 2014
Author: David Brown