follow us:
Shoulders of Giants is closed. Click here for more information
Survival / January 5, 2013

Survive it: Frostbite

Written by: Guest Writer
Cold fingers and toes are a part of life in the outdoors. But while our smaller appendages often feel like they are about to fall off – sometimes they actually do.To make sure we can always count to 20, we turned to our trusted outdoor medicine guru – Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS Curriculum Director Tod Schimelpfenig – to help us spot and treat frostbite.
“It’s okay to get cold feet and hands,” says Schmelpfenig. “That’s what happens. But it’s not okay to tolerate those for very long.”Skin that is numb, white, and waxy is cause for concern, and should be warmed as soon as possible in warm (99-102 degrees Fahrenheit) water or against warm skin (armpits are excellent). Avoid heating frostbitten skin over a fire or stove – the combination of numb skin and high heat is a recipe for serious burns. Frostbite can only truly be diagnosed when frozen tissue has been thawed. Once warmed, frostbitten tissue will swell, turn red, mottled-blue, waxy, or grey, or develop fluid-filled blisters. Any of these symptoms is a sign of serious injury, which must be treated as soon as possible. Do not allow frostbitten tissue to refreeze. 
about the author

Guest Writer

From time to time, guest writers contribute their material to Shoulders of Giants. Interested in becoming a guest writer? Contact [email protected]

read more
hit the outdoors

Sign up for the inside scoop on new products, member discounts and inspiration from our giants.