Frostbite occurs when a part of your body is exposed to conditions with temperatures that are just enough to freeze your skin to the core, usually when the temperature is as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Most of the times the frostbite affects your ears, nose, hands, and feet as frostbite usually focus on those parts of the body that are exposed to the atmosphere.
How does frostbite occur?
If you are out in the cold for a long time and the cold is affecting your body parts by making direct contact with them, it make cause slower movement of the blood throughout your body and skin tissues. This also leads to a fall in the body temperature and even the temperature of vital organs such as heart, lungs and stomach is greatly affected.
As the temperature of the body parts out in the cold continues to diminish, your blood vessels and veins will tend to shrink, restricting easy flow of blood and thereby, easy movement. When this phenomena reaches to the brain, it senses the setting in of hypothermia, then the brain prohibits its own blood vessels in order to stop this frosted blood to go to other internal organs, and this is how occurrence of Frostbite takes place.
The major two reasons responsible for frostbite occurrence are:
- The death of any cell of the body, when the body part is exposed in cold.
Getting Rid of Frostbite
Incase you become suspicious that a person or even you is suffering from frostbite, you should act immediately and do the following:
- Seek Medical Assistance Right Away. Frostbite should not be taken lightly as it is quite a serious complication that demands medical care soonest possible. Get to a hospital, as soon as possible. While waiting for medical professionals to do their jobs, you can start by doing first aid whch involves gently warming the area that is affected with lukewarm water. Incase the affected area cannot be warmed properly with the lukewarm water, you can instead use dry towels or gloves to cover them up and warm them.
- Remove all kinds of accessories such as jewelry and any other clothes that may further restrict or even block blood flow.
- Avoid refreezing the frostbitten area. Refreezing of a frostbitten area worsens the damage already incurred by the area. If you have managed to thaw out the area that has been affected, do everything you can to ensure refreezing does not recur.
- Get out of the cooler region into some place of warmth. It might seem like common sense but getting out of the cold and into someplace warm is important to minimise the effect of frostbite, as well as to prevent further body heat loss.
- Avoid rubbing the affected area. Avoid any form of activity that will induce friction on the affected part. Slapping the affected area with an object or your hand or trying to shake off the stuck ice crystals is forbidden as it can damage the surrounding tissue.
- Keeping yourself warm is the best way out: Drink a warm cup of something that is non-alcoholic and decaffeinated. It will serve to add heat to your body, helping in the warming process.
- Watch out for hypothermia. There is also great risk of experiencing hypothermia, if you are frostbitten. If this happens, treat hypothermia as your prime concern.
It is very important to pay great attention to the affected area so as to prevent infection. Treating frostbite at an early stage is in any way better than making it the root cause of getting a life term infection which may even lead to losing a body part!