Has your skin turned hard and waxy due to the extreme cold conditions? Are you finding your skin turning black and blue due to spending a long span of time in cold weather? If this relates to you, then you might be suffering from frostbite. And, if you want to protect your skin from getting affected by frostbite in cold weather conditions, you need to learn all about frostbite and different ways to beat its adverse effects on your skin. Read on to find all about it.
What Is Frostbite?
Freezing of your body tissues or any damage to them due to extreme cold conditions is frostbite. Frostbite affects you prominently in the winter season or when you happen to stay in a country where the temperatures are extremely low throughout the year. Uncovered parts of your body that are usually exposed to the extreme cold conditions, such as ears, fingers, nose, toes, and cheeks, are some of the common body parts that are affected with frostbite.
Frostbite can be a major threat, and you might need an emergency medical attention to tackle its hazardous effects. It can be classified into various degrees
- First Degree Frostbite: The first degree of frostbite affects only your top skin layers and does not cause severe or permanent damage.
- Second Degree Frostbite: If you get affected with the second-degree
- frostbite, your skin becomes hard and waxy. Blisters may also be seen after you experience freezing for a day or two.
- Third Degree Frostbite: Third-degree frostbite is quite deep. It may make your skin turn skin blue or black. Your muscles, nerves, and vessels in your body all may get frozen. In some cases, it might cause permanent damage as well. And, in extreme cases, affected people may suffer from gangrene and may need amputation of the affected part urgently.
How To Avoid Frostbite?
By following some simple care tips, you can avoid frostbite. Scroll down to find them out.
- In extremely cold temperatures make sure you stay indoors. Avoid getting exposed to the cold freezing temperatures.
- In the situations where you need to go outdoors, make sure you cover your body with good thick layers of warm clothes. Also, cover your face and mouth with a scarf.
- It is advisable to avoid drinking alcohol during the months of cold. You might have heard people saying ‘Grab a drink and you will feel warm’ in the cold weather. However, the fact is that alcohol tends to dilate your blood vessels. When you are exposed to the cold weather, your body has the natural tendency to constrict the blood vessels. However, drinking alcohol dilates your blood vessels and that makes your body to lose heat faster and make you freeze sooner than normal.
- Keep your hands and feet covered with boots and gloves. Normally, the blood in your body tends to rush to the vital organs of your body to keep them warm leaving the extremities with little blood. So, keep moving your extremities and take the right care of them so that they stay warm.
- Keep on checking the color of your skin. The color of your skin changes according to the effect of the frostbite. When you happen to experience superficial frostbite, your skin turns pale or white.
- Avoid wearing cotton clothes or cotton gloves, as cotton tends to absorb moisture and makes your hands cold. Remove any wet clothing immediately, if you are wearing any.
- If any part of your body is affected with frostbite, strictly do not rub that area. Remove any rings, jewelry, or any tight clothing which comes in the contact with the affected part. Keep on drinking warm fluids. Do not rub the affected part.
- Frostbite definitely requires medical attention. Make sure you seek the right medical attention immediately. Do not ignore it, as ignoring it could put your body in a hypothermic situation. The hypothermic situation is when your core body temperature drops significantly. And, such a hypothermic condition could prove fatal at times.
Now that you know all these care tips to avoid frostbite during the cold weather, make sure you follow all of them to stay informed, stay away from frostbite, and stay safe!
-Written by Dr. Stacia, Associate doctor to Dr. Rajesh Shah