Frostbite

Definition

Frostbite is damage to skin and tissues from prolonged exposure to below-freezing temperatures. Frostbite severity is based on the depth of tissue injury. The most severe frostbite can lead to permanent damage and/or amputation.The most common parts of the body to become frostbitten include your fingers, toes, ears, nose, chin, or cheeks.
Frostbitten Skin
Nucleus factsheet image
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Exposure to below-freezing temperatures can cause the body tissue to freeze. Ice crystals form within the frozen body part. Blood cannot flow through the frozen tissue. This causes the frozen tissue to be deprived of blood and oxygen. The combination of freezing and oxygen deprivation causes tissue damage or tissue death. Rewarming may also ultimately lead to tissue death.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of getting frostbite include:
  • Exposure to below-freezing temperatures without adequate covering
  • Low body temperature, a condition known as hypothermia
  • Being very young or very old
  • Homelessness
  • Fatigue
  • History of previous cold weather injury
  • High-altitude cold exposure
  • Working in below-freezing conditions
  • Participating in winter sports or high-altitude sports
  • Wearing wet clothing
  • Suffering from a condition that affects your mental status such as:
  • Inability to move
  • Using drugs that cause your blood vessels to become constricted
  • Medical conditions, such as:

leave comments
0
Did you like this? Share with your family and friends.
Related Topics:
Current Research From Top Journals


Chewing Gum After Surgery May Improve Digestive Tract Recovery
April 2015

A systematic review found that participants given chewing gum after abdominal surgery may have a faster return to normal for their digestive system. Unfortunately, the quality of trials is low and more research will need to be done before this simple solution is confirmed.

dot separator
previous editions

Early Peanut Consumption Associated with Lower Risk of Peanut Allergy in High Risk Children
March 2015

Breastfeeding May Decrease the Risk of Childhood Obesity
February 2015

Tonsillectomy May Reduce Number of Sore Throat Days in Children
February 2015

dashed separator

Advertisement

Our Free Newsletter
click here to see all of our uplifting newsletters »

 

Advertisement

Advertisement

DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook