Don't Let Jack Frost Bite You

What is Frostbite?

When the capillaries in your fingers and toes and the top of your nose get cold, blood flow to these areas decreases. Frostbite is when tissues literally freeze in your body. Ice crystals form inside the cells. This will limit the blood supply and oxygen to the area. The mixture of the freezing cells and the oxygen depletion causes tissue damage and can destroy blood vessels, which will turn red and purple and eventually blister and lead to gangrene and loss of extremities.

When you are out in the cold, your body’s first priority is to maintain the core temperature. Your body shifts blood away from the extremities and toward the central organs. Frostbite has an early warning sign called frostnip. The skin will turn red, burn and sting, and may also feel numb. This is the signal to head inside to a warmer environment. When bare or wet skin is exposed to low weather temperatures for a prolonged amount of time, the body tissue will freeze. Frostbite can occur in just 30 minutes with temperatures of zero with a 15 mph wind, which creates a windchill of 19 degrees below zero. Some weather conditions can cause the skin to freeze in just 10 minutes.

 

Prevention of Frostbite

 

Additional Risk Factors

 

Symptoms of Frostbite

The following symptoms may occur right after exposure, or may not be noticed until several days or weeks later.

 

Treatment

As we prepare for the winter of 2015, don’t take any chances with the extreme cold.

If you have any questions or comments, please visit their website at www.cortesefootandankle.com or call them at 309-452-3000.

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