Frostbite Can Take the Fun Out of Winter

As we now enter the cold winter weather, many of us will be skiing, sledding and shoveling snow. Many people will get cold feet as well as wet feet. Having Jack Frost nipping at your nose sounds great when Nat King Cole sings it, but its no fun when affected by serious cold weather hazards frostnip and frostbite.

Extreme exposure of your feet to cold over a prolonged period can lead to a serious condition called frostbite. Frostbite starts by producing pain and a burning sensation in the exposed areas. This is a followed by numbness in toes or feet and changes in skin color, from pale or red to bluish-gray or black.

Children, elderly, and diabetics are more prone to frostbite because of the size of their extremities or poor circulation. People who live or work outdoors also have higher likelihood of contracting frostbite because of their increased exposure to the cold.

There are various degrees of frostbite with frost nip (first degree), being the most common to most people who live in very cold climates or do a lot of outdoor activity in the winter. Skin may feel stiff to the touch, but the tissue underneath is still warm and soft

Superficial frostbite (second degree) and deep frostbite (third degree) are serious medical conditions that need to be treated by trained medical professional. Skin will feel hard and frozen to the touch and blistering will happen. In some severe cases, amputation may occur to prevent severe infection.

Mild frostbite can be treated by initially getting out of the cold and moving to a warm environment. Keep the feet dry and warm; warm the skin gradually by using warm compresses or immersing the feet in warm water (101 to 104 F) until sensation returns – do not use direct heat such as heating pads or fire; and do disturb any blisters.

Frostbite is very serious and if you suspect that you have it, seek professional help from a podiatric physician for any foot and ankle-related concerns. Their prompt diagnosis and proper treatment is essential they can literally save your toes.

Category: Foot Problems

Tags: Blisters, foot pain, Frostbite, Skin Problems