Tag Archives: frostbite

Tips to Keep Safe in The Winter Cold

Winter can be a favored season for those who enjoy winter sports or are fond of the snow, but it can also be a perilous time of year, opening the door for many seasonal dangers. Let’s take a look at some precautionary tips to heed in the winter:

  • Bundle up – It is best to wear layers (and pack extra ones) in winter so you can take them off if you’re too warm or add to them if you’re too cold. If you tend to get cold hands or feet easily (or if you suffer from Raynaud’s), you can buy a variety of mini hand warmers to put in your gloves or winter boots.
  • Keep an eye on the weather – If you are planning an outdoors excursion in the winter cold, be sure to check up on the forecast beforehand. If the temperature or wind-chill is too low or there’s a storm brewing, you should plan it for a different date.
  • Don’t let hypothermia creep in – Many people think hypothermia only happens in sub-freezing temperatures, but that is a misconception. This deadly winter danger can strike in temperatures as high as 50’F depending on the other conditions. Read more about hypothermia in our post: Must-Know Facts About Hypothermia.
  • Keep a ‘Winter Kit’ in your car – Be sure to pre-pack a winter emergency kit in the trunk of your car in case you get stranded in the cold. You may want to include: a thermal (foil) blanket, extra coat, mittens and hat, an extra pair of boots as well as a full change of clothes including a couple pairs of socks (in case you have to spend the night somewhere without heat). You should also include some food rations, water, instant heat-packs, a first aid kit, some Advil or Tylenol, a flashlight and a swiss army knife or similar tool.
  • If you have a lung condition, avoid the cold air – The harsh, dry winter air can be rough on the lungs of an asthmatic or COPD sufferer. It can cause the airways to constrict (bronchoconstriction). This can directly contribute to an asthma attack, especially when combined with physical exertion. So, be sure to limit your outside time when the temperature drops too low or wear a scarf around your face if you have a compromised respiratory system!
  • Know the signs of frostbite – Are your extremities so cold they are starting to tingle or hurt, or change color? It is important to know the signs so frostnip doesn’t turn into full-fledged frostbite! Take our Frostbite Quiz to learn more.
  • Pack a car phone charger – It is important to always take your cell phone when driving or walking anywhere alone in winter. If you get stranded in the cold because of a flat tire or wrong turn and your phone has died, a car cell phone charger may save your buns. You can also purchase battery-fueled and solar powered phone chargers.
  • Beware of Icy Accidents – another feared winter danger is an icy slip-and-fall. Falls are major contributors to premature death, especially in the elderly population. It is so easy to hit your head or break an arm when slipping on the ice. Use special gripping tracks on your shoes and boots and always walk slowly and tentatively on icy surfaces with your hands out to brace you.

Keep an eye out for Winter Safety Tips for Children in the future! Thanks for visiting DocChat.

QUIZ: Could You Recognize Frostbite Before It’s Too Late?

Frostbite is a common winter danger that can lead to skin discoloration, dead tissue in the affected area, gangrenous infection or even amputation in severe cases. These are fates you certainly want to avoid while having your winter fun! So, how much do you know about frostbite? Let’s find out. Take a look at the statements below – are they true or false? Try to give the quiz a shot before looking at the answers below. You can write “T or F” for each number on a piece of paper and check your answers at the end. No scrolling down!

  1. You should put the frostbitten area in hot water to rewarm it quickly.
  2. The first stage of frostbite is called frostnip.
  3. Frostbite happens most commonly to the neck, arms and legs.
  4. Frostbitten areas usually change color drastically.
  5. Frostbite may feel like pins and needles in an area of your body.
  6. You must be exposed to freezing temperatures for at least an hour for frostbite to fully set in.
  7. The first visual sign of frostbite is hardened, bluish skin on the affected area.
  8. Frostbite can lead to blood-filled blisters.



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  1. If you are able to get to a warm place with running water, soak the affected are in warm (not hot) water for 30 minutes. This process will likely be painful, so taking OTC non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like Advil can help with the pain and inflammation. (Do not try to thaw the area unless you are safely in a warm environment and know it can’t refreeze).
  2. Frostnip is a mild form of frostbite that usually doesn’t change the skin permanently if it is caught and treated early enough. It starts with color changes to the skin (from pale to red) and discomfort in the area. If you are noticing pain or tingling in your fingers or toes and the skin appears to be changing color, it is time to go inside and warm up.
  3. Frostbite most often affects the extremities (fingers and toes) as well as the nose, ears or cheeks (however, any exposed area can potentially be affected).
  4. The skin will change color depending on the various stages of frostbite. Usually starting with paleness, progressing to redness and finally to black or blue (you should definitely strive to avoid the last stage as it means the tissue has died).
  5. While sensations may be different for everyone, usually the first thing you will feel is extreme coldness, pins and needles or pain in the area.
  6. Depending on the temperature and wind chill factor, frostbite can actually begin in as little as 5 minutes of exposure to extreme freezing temperatures.
  7. The first sign of frostbite is usually pale yellowish or red skin on the affected area. The skin won’t turn bluish or black until advanced stages of frostbite when circulation is extremely limited and the subcutaneous tissue becomes frostbitten and starts to die.
  8. In the more advanced stages of frostbite the skin may start to feel warm and when the skin thaws, blood-filled blisters may develop in the area. Medical treatment should be sought if you believe you have experienced the latter stages of frostbite.

We hope you scored well on the test and are now equipped to recognize the early signs of frostbite before it can progress any further. Remember to stay safe in the winter cold! Thanks for visiting DocChat!