Dangers of Frostbite

by Ashley Zilka on January 10, 2011 at 9:57 am

Winter weather is at its peak and the Zanesville Muskingum County Health Department says there is something you should look out for…

Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and color in the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes. Director of Nursing Gloria Kieffer says you can try to avoid frostbite by paying attention to the early warning signs. The first signs of frostbite include redness or pain in any skin area. When seeing these signs, it is vital to get out of the cold and protect the exposed skin before symptoms become worse.

"Without getting warmed, then the skin becomes white and waxy and harder because its freezing," said Kieffer.

Kieffer says a victim is often unaware of frostbite until someone else points it out because the frozen tissues are numb. Since symptoms of frostbite are not the easiest to diagnose, the key is prevention.

"You can prevent frostbite by dressing for the temperatures. Your clothing should be in layers and the middle layer should be an insulating layer and the outer layer should be one that protects you from the wind and wetness," said Kieffer. 

Kieffer says frostbite can permanently damage the body, and severe cases can lead to amputation.  If you think you have frostbite, seek medical attention right away.