Brrr.... with much of the nation caught in winter's icy cold grip, this is a good time to remember that exposure to very cold temperatures can cause serious - even life-threatening - health consequences.
Infants, who don't make enough body heat by shivering, and the elderly, who have a slower metabolism, are at greater risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
What is Frostbite?
Frostbite is caused by freezing, causing loss of feeling and color. It is most likely to affect the face, fingers, or toes, and can cause permanent damage. In extreme cases, it can lead to amputation of the affected areas.
First signs of frostbite include:
- a white or grayish-yellow area of skin
- skin that feels unusually firm or waxy
Medical care should be sought immediately. If that is not possible, take these steps:
- seek warm shelter
- if at all possible, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes
- immerse affected are in warm (not hot) water
- do not message or rub affected area with snow
- warm the area using body heat - do not use heating pads, heat lamps, etc. - affected areas will be numb and can be easily burned!