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Frostbite Information, Risks, Health issues, Prevention and Consult

Information about frostbite

Frostbite of the extremities occur mainly in the mountains where the weather conditions are changing rapidly with falling temperatures of 6.5 ° C every 1000 meters. They are one of the consequences of prolonged exposure to cold. These are injuries to the movement disorders caused by cold, which mainly affect the extremities (hands and feet) and the face. Cold, humidity, but also skin contact with metal objects favor.

Risks and health issues frostbite

Cooling the body can cause many cold injury. Frostbite and hypothermia are the most serious. Frostbite concern mainly the fingers, toes, ears and nose, as these organs are devoid of major muscles to produce heat.

Mechanisms frostbite

The cold-induced vasoconstriction which decreases blood perfusion and thus oxygenation of the extremities. In case of exposure to cold, the body indeed preserves heat in internal organs, reducing peripheral blood circulation (the ends). Hands and feet thus tend to cool more quickly, leading up to frostbite.

How is he clear?

The first symptoms are tingling in the extremities. The skin then becomes white and cold, with a loss of sensitivity and blistering. When heated, pains are felt swelling.

A few days later, the affected area becomes black by tissue necrosis (tissue death) and in some cases the gangrene may require amputation of the limb.

With what should we be confused?

It should not be confused frostbite and chilblains. Frostbite is benign lesions caused by exposure to cold without freezing of tissues (temperature of the upper air freezing, 0 ° C).

The affected area is red, swollen with a tingling sensation or pain.

Will it possible prevention?

Prevention requires certain precautions: wear shoes and warm clothes and insulating wind and humidity, no excursion mountain without adequate equipment, always report their departure with an approximate schedule return for delivery of communication in case of problems.

Whatever the weather, we must fully cover, wear gloves and a hat that protects the ears, and use a lip balm that will prevent chapping and protect from the sun.

When to consult?

If symptoms such as tingling or pain, it is imperative to warm hands and extremities. Attention must slowly warm the tissue and avoid rubbing the affected parts.

Never use hot objects such as water bottles, and seek emergency at the stage of frostbite.

What does the doctor?

Frostbite evolve in three phases: numbness, movement disorders and tissue necrosis.

In the first stage, impairment is reversible with warming, including extremes: hot and sweet drinks, warming blanket.

Blood flow will be facilitated by loosening clothing and shoes and stirring the hands and feet.

From the second stage, the care is specialized treatment in hospital or ICU: not undertake any warming but wrap the victim in a blanket.

Warm baths of end abuses in warm water at 38 ° C can be provided.

At the stage of necrosis, sometimes amputation is the only treatment option.

How to prepare for my next visit?

The loss of sensitivity is one of the first signs of frostbite. The fingers are white as devoid of blood; at this stage, it is advisable to return the blood and sensitivity by moving, massaging or by warming under the armpits.

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