How do you treat frostbite symptoms?


Quick Answer

First aid treatments for frostbite symptoms include placing the person in a warm place, removing wet clothing, restoring warmth to the area with warm water and bandaging frostbitten parts with dry, sterile dressings, according to WebMD. A hospital handles frostbite with treatments such as rapidly warming the area, removing milky blisters, elevating the affected area and administering drugs.

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Full Answer

The first thing to do with a frostbite victim is to restore warmth. WebMD explains that the frostbitten area should not be warmed until it can be kept completely warm. Exposed tissue that refreezes may suffer worse damage than the initial frostbite. If possible, the victim should not walk on frostbitten toes or feet. Gently and gradually warm the area in warm, not hot, water, or with wet heat until skin color appears red and warm. If there is no water, breathe on the area. Do not rub the skin, break blisters, or use direct heat sources such as heating pads, radiators or fires.

According to the Mayo Clinic, hospitals treat frostbite comprehensively because severe symptoms may not appear for a few days. Frozen skin is rapidly rewarmed with water for 15 to 30 minutes (the water's temperature is between 104 and 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Health professionals may remove white blisters and treat them with antibiotic cream or petroleum jelly. Limbs are wrapped and elevated to reduce swelling. WebMD states that pain medications, antibiotics and tetanus toxoids may be administered to limit inflammation and infection.

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