Frostbite develops if exposure of the body to cold temperature occurs. The commonly affected parts of the body include the face, ears and fingers. Immediate action is vital to stop mild frostbite from progressing into a severe frostbite and the worst thing to do is to employ direct heat to the affected parts of the body.
What are the mild signs?
Once frostbite develops, there is a painful sensation on the skin or throbbing. A tingling sensation follows after some time as the area aches upon touching it. Take note that it can be painful if the individual uses his/her extremities and the pain is quite similar to severe sunburn.
There are some misconceptions regarding how frostbite turns the skin in various colors. The most common misconception is that the skin turns into white and then turns blue as the frostbite further develops. The truth is that frostbite starts by turning the skin white in color as the cold starts to disrupt the flow of blood to the skin. The skin changes into different shades of red. Mild cases of frostbite end with the red color stage. In case the frostbite progresses and the color of the skin turns to purple, the skin is already dying and the condition is more serious.
Block of wood
A common symptom of a mild case of frostbite is that the affected body part takes on the characteristic of a slab of wood. Once the frostbite progresses, the sensation starts to disappear from the affected body part and the numb sensation that occurs diminishes any reaction from the area. The rigidity linked with the freezing and the absence of response once the body part is touched is like touching a block of wood.
Treatment of mild frostbite
Once an individual shows the early signs of mild frostbite, it is important to provide the appropriate measures. It is best to register in a first aid course so that you are prepared to handle cold-related injuries.
Do not thaw the area unless keeping the site warm if an area has mild frostbite. If an area thaws and freezes again briefly causes more damage to the skin and blood vessels.
Do not rub the affected area and avoid applying direct heat such as exposing the body part over a campfire or hot air from a hair dryer. You have to allow the skin to naturally thaw without accelerating the heating. It is vital to keep the blood flowing properly during the thawing process of recovering from a mild frostbite. Additionally, the individual must not drink alcohol or smoke since both will disrupt the flow of blood.
What is the outlook?
The outlook for a mild case of frostbite that was given immediate medical care is usually good. Most usually experience a certain loss of sensation in the affected area but full recovery is expected.