Posted December 12, 2014
True or false? The best treatment for frostbite is to drink whiskey and rub the frozen area.
The answer is false.
- Skip the alcohol – A common myth is that drinking alcohol helps the body warm up, but in reality it causes the blood vessels near the skin surface to dilate and cool it down.
- Gently warm the skin – Slowly bring the skin back to normal temperatures by running warm water over the affected area.
- Carry an emergency kit – Pack a container of supplies in the car in case you get stuck in the cold, such as a blanket, coat, gloves, flashlight, battery-operated radio (and extra batteries), shovel and ice melt. Review these additional suggestions provided by Wisconsin Emergency Management.
- Watch for skin changes – Frostnip, an early sign of frostbite, causes the skin to sting, turn red and feel numb. At the onset of these symptoms, immediately take steps to protect your skin from damage.
- Remove jewelry and wet clothing – If you experience frostbite, the skin may swell, so quickly take off rings and jewelry. Change into dry clothes to increase body temperature.
- Avoid applying snow to the skin – People used to think it was important to apply snow to skin when experiencing frostnip or frostbite, but medical professionals warn that this practice will cause more problems.
- Seek medical assistance – Frostbite is serious. Seek immediate treatment at your doctor’s office, urgent care center or hospital emergency room.