When the temperatures drop, you will need to always be ready for the potential risk of frostbite and hypothermia. Not only will you need first aid, but it is likely that you will need to rush to the hospital or urgent care.
Know the Signs
When you experience first degree frostbite, you will experience skin irritation. However, this will only affect the top layer of the skin and will not usually require a trip to urgent care. If you experience blistering, you will have second degree frost bite. However, this does not necessarily mean that you will experience major damage to your tissue.
If you notice that your skin has turned white or grayish and is throbbing or aching, this means that you have superficial frostbite. More severe frostbite consists of black dead skin and skin that is very firm and waxy. This area will feel numb. If you are experiencing severe frostbite, you will want to go into urgent care so that you can be treated by a doctor.
Apply First Aid
While you are focused on getting to urgent care or the hospital, you will also want to protect your skin from any other exposure to the cold. If your hands are frostbitten, place them as close to your body as possible. Try to get indoors as soon as possible.
Do not rapidly rewarm the frostbitten extremities Instead, use lukewarm water to warm the extremities for about half an hour. Do not use direct heat because this can cause burns. After you have thawed the extremities, avoid having them freeze again by making sure that they are wrapped well. Otherwise, you will cause more damage. If you believe that the frostbitten area might be refrozen, do not attempt to rewarm it and simply focus on getting to the nearest hospital.
While frostbitten, your frostbitten extremities might be numb. But as they thaw, you will likely experience pain and a burning sensation. Take a pain medication to reduce both pain and inflammation.
Seek Medical Assistance
Once you have received medical care, it may be necessary for you to be hospitalized for a few days. If the frostbite is not as severe, you'll likely simply receive the tetanus vaccine and be administered an appropriate pain medication. It may be necessary to treat blisters with a topical antibiotic or with aloe vera gel.
The area will need a split and will need to be elevated. Keep the area wrapped to protect the damaged tissue while it heals. If you follow the doctor's instructions, you will minimize the damage done to the tissue. To learn more, contact a company like Urgent Care of Stafford with any questions or concerns you have.