Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tips To Prevent Frostbite During These Sub-zero Temperatures

Date:
January 15, 2009
Source:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
Summary:
Severe temperatures are hitting most of the country this week, but cold weather is no excuse to sit inside over the long winter months. If you do go outside for some fresh air and exercise, make sure to guard yourself from frostbite. When body tissues are frostbitten, skin cells become damaged--sometimes permanently. Therefore, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has some suggestions to help keep your skin safe from the cold.

Severe temperatures are hitting most of the country this week, but cold weather is no excuse to sit inside over the long winter months. If you do go outside for some fresh air and exercise, make sure to guard yourself from frostbite. When body tissues are frostbitten, skin cells become damaged—sometimes permanently. Therefore, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has some suggestions to help keep your skin safe from the cold.

“It takes only minutes for exposed skin to become frostbitten if the temperature falls below 20 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind is blowing at 20 miles per hour or more,” says Taizoon Baxamusa, MD, spokesperson for the AAOS. “Your hands, fingers, feet, toes, and ears are especially susceptible, so you need to take special care protecting them.”

Frostbitten areas may feel numb or hard and frozen, and may appear waxy, white, or grayish. Symptoms such as cold sensitivity, numbness, or chronic pain may last for years after an incident of frostbite; in extreme cases, the frostbitten tissue may be permanently damaged and need to be amputated.

The AAOS offers the following tips to help prevent frostbite:

Dress appropriately.

  • Light, loose, layered clothing provides both ventilation and insulation. Top your outfit with a water-repellent (not waterproof) fabric.
  • Additionally, check for gaps in your clothing (such as between your glove and sleeve) that might expose bare skin to the cold.

Take special care to protect your head, hands and feet. Substantial heat loss occurs through the scalp, so head coverings are vital.

  • Mittens are warmer than gloves, and two pair of socks (wool over lightweight cotton) will help keep your feet warm.
  • If you plan on being out in the cold for a prolonged period, do not drink or smoke. Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine leave the skin more prone to thermal injury.
  • If you get wet, get inside and remove the wet clothing as quickly as possible.

Check yourself every half-hour or so for signs of frostbite. If your toes, fingers, ears or other body parts feel numb, get inside.

If you do get frostbite, you should seek medical attention. Should you be unable to see a physician immediately, follow these tips to prevent further injury:

  • Get to a warm room as soon as possible and call for medical assistance. You can have warm drinks, such as broth or tea.
  • Rest the injured areas (avoid walking on frostbitten feet, for example) and elevate them slightly.
  • Take off any wet or restrictive clothing.
  • Warm the affected area by immersing it in warm (NOT HOT) water for at least 30 to 45 minutes, or until it feels warm and sensation returns. During warming, you may feel severe pain and the injured area may swell and change color.
  • Do not do anything that will further injure the frostbitten tissue. Leave blisters intact, and cover them with a sterile or clean cloth until you are seen by a physician.
  • Do not rub the area with your hands, with snow, or with anything else.
  • Do not start to warm the affected area if there is any chance that it will be exposed to the cold again.
  • Do not use dry heat, such as from a heating pad, sunlamp, fire, or radiator, to try to warm the area. Because the skin is numb and will not feel the heat, it can easily be burned.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). "Tips To Prevent Frostbite During These Sub-zero Temperatures." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090114211625.htm>.
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). (2009, January 15). Tips To Prevent Frostbite During These Sub-zero Temperatures. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090114211625.htm
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). "Tips To Prevent Frostbite During These Sub-zero Temperatures." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090114211625.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins