Frostbite is the damage to body tissues caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of -20°F will cause frostbite in just 30 minutes. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes or the tip of the nose.
If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately. If you must wait for help, slowly rewarm the affected areas. However, if the person is also showing signs of hypothermia, warm the body core before the extremities.
Hypothermia is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95°F. It can kill.
Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion. For those who survive, there are likely to be lasting kidney, liver, and pancreas problems. Take the person’s temperature. If below 95°F, seek medical care immediately.
What if medical care is not available?
If a person has symptoms of hypothermia, begin to warm them slowly starting with the body core.
Warming the arms and the legs first drives cold blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure.
If necessary, use your body heat to help.
Get the person into dry clothing and wrap in a warm blanket covering head and neck.
Do not give the person alcohol, drugs, coffee, or any hot beverage or food. Warm broth is the first food to offer.
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