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How do I give first aid for frostbite?

Frostbite should be treated by getting out of the elements and gradually warming the skin. If you are outside, cover your skin with warm, dry clothes and use your body heat to protect the affected area - cover a frostbitten nose with your hand, or put frostbitten hands into your armpits - and get inside as soon as possible. Begin to warm the area gradually. Warm water or warm blankets are recommended. Fires should be avoided due to the possibility of burns. If you are stuck in the cold and are at risk for your frostbitten areas to refreeze, do not thaw them.

Leigh Vinocur, MD
Emergency Medicine
First aid treatment for frostbite:

– Getting the victim out of the cold.
 
– Remove any constricting wet clothing, especially around affected frostbitten area.
 
– Elevate that area to reduce swelling.

– Never rub or massage the area; it damages the tissue further. Never rub with ice or snow.

– Never re-warm an affected frostbitten area. If there is a chance of re-freezing, it is better to leave the part frozen, since more damage occurs to the tissue if it thaws and then freezes again.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.