7 Tips for Treating Frostbite


True or false? The best treatment for frostbite is to drink whiskey and rub the frozen area.
The answer is false.

Read on for seven true tips from NPR and the Centers for Disease Control.

  1. 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.
  2. Gently warm the skin – Slowly bring the skin back to normal temperatures by running warm water over the affected area.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Seek medical assistance – Frostbite is serious. Seek immediate treatment at your doctor’s office, urgent care center or hospital emergency room.




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