Healthy Living

Frostbite : Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Symptoms and Signs


The first and most critical change to watch out for is a prickling feeling. Red, white, whitish-blue, yellowish-gray patches of discoloration can also occur. You can become disoriented or dizzy, making it hard for you to walk as a result of joint and muscle stiffness. This awkward feeling also comes from nerve damage and low blood supply to the frostbitten area. The pain spectrum ranges from intense, uncomfortable stabbing sensations to pure numbness. This can be really serious because if you go numb you might not be able to notice you have been exposed.

Another important clue that you have been exposed is skin texture change. You will be able to feel your skin get firmer as it hardens from freezing. It can take on a waxy-looking appearance. This is an indication of serious tissue damage and you should seek medical assistance. Many people report intense pain once the muscles warm and the numbness lifts. At this stage, there will still be redness or discoloration of the skin that could look like a burn mark. In life-threatening cases, extreme damage on the cellular level leads to an adverse reaction in which blistering will occur on the frostbitten area after normal body temperature is reached.