Frostbite: Conditions and treatment

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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Too much exposure in cold weather can lead to frostbite if you’re not properly protected.

Frostbite can occur in as little as 30 seconds in extreme conditions. Factors such as wind chill and wet or damp conditions impact the severity of frostbite.

There are three levels of frostbite:

  • First degree frostbite will cause skin to grow numb and turn white.
  • Second degree frostbite is a serious medical condition that needs to be treated by a doctor. Skin is white or blue and feels hard or frozen. Blistering is likely, but proper treatment can prevent permanent injuries.
  • Third degree deep frostbite is a life-threatening injury that must be treated by a doctor. Skin is white and blotchy or blue. The tissue underneath is hard and cold to the touch. It can often lead to amputation.

To treat frostbite, get the person to a warm area. You should warm the frostbitten areas slowly, starting at the outer extremities.

When more than a toe or another small body part is frostbitten, keep the area elevated and wrapped in a warm blanket.

Also, call a doctor or get the person to medical treatment as quickly as possible.


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