Frostbite is freezing of the skin and tissues below the skin.
It occurs when a person is exposed to freezing temperatures [32°F (0°C)] or lower for too long.
How severe the
frostbite is depends on how long the person was exposed to cold, the
temperature, the windchill, and the humidity. Frostbite is most likely to occur
on the feet, hands, ears, nose, and face. Men may have frostbite of the
genitals if they do not dress properly.
Doctors rate frostbite by
degree of severity:
freezes part of the outer layer of skin. Symptoms include:
Second-degree frostbite is
freezing of all layers of the skin. Symptoms include:
Third-degree frostbite is
freezing of deep layers of skin and tissues below the skin. Symptoms
Fourth-degree frostbite is
freezing of muscles, tendons, and bones. Symptoms include:
Pain may be severe as the frostbitten skin rewarms.
Swelling and blisters are common after rewarming.
treatment for frostbite includes relieving pain and quickly rewarming the
frostbitten area. This can help prevent problems such as infection, dead
tissue, or amputation of the frozen part.
May 11, 2011
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
We are happy to take your appointment request over the phone, or, you may fill out an online request form.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.