Infographic: Avoid Spot Treat: Frostbite & Hypothermia

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Avoid Spot Treat: Frostbite & Hypothermia

In cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced, which can lead to serious health problems.

Avoid

When the weather is extremely cold, try to stay indoors. If you must go outside, dress properly and know who is at high risk for hypothermia or frostbite.

When going outside be sure to wear:

  • a scarf or knit
  • mask that covers
  • face & mouth
  • mittens or gloves
  • water-resistant boots
  • a hat
  • a water-resistant coat
  • several layers of loose-fitting clothing

When going outside in winter make sure body parts most often affected by frostbite are covered in warm, dry clothing.

  • nose
  • ears
  • toes
  • cheeks
  • chin
  • fingers

Know who is at high risk:

  • Older adults without proper food, clothing, or heating
  • People who stay outdoors for long periods (homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.)
  • People who drink alcohol in excess or use illicit drugs
  • Babies sleeping in cold rooms

Spot

A victim is often unaware of frostbite because frozen tissue is numb.

FROSTBITE

  • Signs & Symptoms
    • Redness or pain in any skin area may be the first sign of frostbite.
  • Other signs include:
    • a white or grayish-yellow skin area
    • skin that feels  unusually firm or waxy
    • numbness

HYPOTHERMIA

Hypothermia often occurs at very cold temperatures, but can occur at cool temperatures (above 40°F), if a person is wet (from rain, sweat or cold water) and becomes chilled.

  • Signs & Symptoms
    • Adults:
      • shivering
      •  exhaustion
      • confusion
      • fumbling hands
      • memory loss
      • slurred speech
      • drowsiness
    • Infants:
      • bright red, cold skin
      • very low energy

If a person’s temperature is below 95° get medical attention immediately.

Treat

If a person is experiencing hypothermia or frostbite…

  1. Seek medical attention as soon as possible
  2. Get them into a warm room or shelter
  3. Remove any wet clothing
  4. Warm them under dry layers of blankets and clothing
  5. Place areas affected by frostbite in warm-to-touch water

Frostbite Caution

Since skin may be numb, victims of frostbite can harm themselves further.
Use caution when treating frostbite and:

  1. Unless necessary, do not walk on feet or toes with frostbite
  2. Do not use a fireplace, heat lamp, radiator, or stove for warming
  3. Do not use a heating pad or electric blanket for warming
  4. Do not rub or massage areas with frostbite

http://emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/index.asp

Page last reviewed: October 25, 2016