Frostbite is a cold related injury characterized by freezing of the tissues. It is the medical condition where the localized damage is caused to the skin and other tissues due to freezing. The initial stages of frostbite are sometime called as frostnip. Read this article till the end to know the proper management of frostbite.
1) Frostnip is a superficial cooling of tissues without cellular destruction.
2) Chilblains are superficial ulcers of the skin that occur when predisposed individual is repeatedly exposed to cold.
3) Frostbite involves tissue destruction.
Causes – It is caused by extreme cold to skin /tissues at -15 C or below, blood vessels constrict to preserve body temperature. If it persists then the tissue injury occurs. It affects the tissues which are distant from the heart.
Management of the frostbite
• If the people go to the warm place then remove the wet clothing.
• The person should not walk on frostbitten toes or feet.
• Do not rewarm the skin until you can keep it warm. Warming and then re- exposing the frostbitten area to cold air can cause worse damage.
• Gently warm the area in warm water or with wet heat until the skin appears red and warm.
• Do not use direct heat from heating pads, radiator or fires.
• Do not rub or massage the skin or break blisters.
• Loosely apply dry, sterile dressings.
• Replace wet clothing with soft, dry clothing to stop heat loss.
• Warm the body by wrapping it in blankets and protecting the frostbitten parts.
• Do not rub the affected area or direct heat such as fire / heater as it can cause further injury.
• If the warming process is started and the frozen parts are re-exposed to the cold, it can cause further irreversible damage.
• The affected area should be rewarmed slowly by immersing it in warm water. A bath of water at a temperature of 40 -41C is recommended.
• After the frostbite it should be wrapped very gently in clean bandages with the fingers and toes separated. It is important to keep the skin clean to avoid infection.
• Too much movement should be avoided and the limbs should be elevated as possible.
• Wear thermal insoles to keep the feet warm.
Home Remedies for Chilblains
1) Use black peppercorns and sesame oil for chilblains. Take few peppercorns and fry in hot sesame oil /mustard oil. Filter the solution and use it to massage the affected area.
2) Add 1 egg white, 1 tsp of honey and glycerin to wheat flour and mix well. Apply this over the chilblains before going to bed. This will protect the area from the cold and enable them to heal. Wash with warm water in the morning.
3) Massage with warm oil to enhance the circulation during winters .Add some lemon juice to the oil.
4) Dipping your fingers into warm oatmeal porridge for few minutes is very helpful.
5) Add some salt to a slice of raw potato and rub gently over the affected areas. This will reduce redness and itching.
6) Put few drops of fresh garlic juice to warm oil and apply to the affected areas.
7) Apply the gel obtained from aloe vera leaves to blistered skin.
8) Avoid exposing the skin to any direct heat especially after exposure to cold.
9) Gingko biloba is helpful in the treatment of chilblains. It help to enhance the functioning of the circulation system and improves the flow of blood to the extremities.
10) Ginger is also a great natural remedy for chilblains as it boosts circulation and has anti –inflammatory properties.
11) The affected areas may be rubbed gently with camphor oil.
12) Rosemary is a beneficial herb for chilblains. It improves the strength of the blood vessels and aids in the proper circulation.
Diet for Chilblains
a) Take plenty of food which is rich in vitamin A.
b) Take vitamin C in the diet which help in quick healing of the body tissues and ensure the
c) Take the food which contains egg yolk, sesame seeds, and almonds in the diet.
d) Take food which is rich in vitamin E and K.
Prevention for Chilblains
• Protect the body from the cold by wearing warm clothing. Warm clothing especially gloves, thick woolen socks and protective footwear. Keep the head and neck warm with hat and scarf.
• Cover the body properly when going outdoors in cold weather.
• Always wear shoes that fit comfortably. Don’t wear too tight shoes as they can disrupt the circulation.
• Avoid wearing damp clothing.
• Ensure that your face, hands and feet are kept warm.
• If you are exposed to cold then rewarm your body gradually.
• Your face, hands and feet are kept warm.
• Avoid medicines that might constrict blood vessels include caffeine, decongestants.
• After being out in the cold, do not heat the skin quickly with hot water bottles. Gradually warm up.
• Before going outside, soak hands in warm water for several minutes to warm hands and then dry thoroughly.
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