Activity First Aid - Online Blended Part 1

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Frost Bite And Frost Nip

Video 63 of 90
2 min 44 sec
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Frostnip and Frostbite: Prevention and Treatment

Understanding Frostnip

Frostnip is a cold injury that occurs when a body part becomes extremely cold. Swift action can prevent it from progressing to frostbite. Learn how to treat frostnip:

  • Step 1: Act quickly to gently warm the affected area, such as placing fingers under the armpit, flexing the fingers, or breathing on them.
  • Step 2: Frostnip typically develops within the first 30 minutes, so rapid treatment can prevent it from advancing to frostbite.

Identifying Risk Areas

Frostnip and frostbite commonly affect the extremities, particularly the feet and hands. Cold temperatures reduce blood flow, causing fluid between cells to freeze. This constriction can result from cold exposure or tight-fitting gloves and boots, further impeding blood flow.

Factors Increasing Frostbite Risk

Risk factors include:

  • Illegal drug use
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Sedative use
  • Circulation issues (e.g., Reynaud's disease)

Types of Frostbite

Frostbite has two categories: mild and deep.

  • Mild Frostbite: Recognizable by cold, painful skin with tingling, itching, burning, or numbness. The skin is stiff but underlying tissue remains flexible. Treat by removing from the cold and providing shelter. Slow warming is the preferred approach, but expect pain during the process, similar to frostnip treatment.
  • Deep Frostbite: Occurs when mild frostbite treatment fails. Symptoms include complete loss of sensation, discolored skin (blue, black, or red and mottled), swelling, blisters, or abnormal skin texture. Seek immediate medical assistance or activate mountain rescue if in remote areas. Do not rewarm the area. Protect it from further freezing, remove jewelry, dry the area gently, and wrap it in spare clothing.

Preventing Frostnip and Frostbite

Prevention is the key:

  • Wear Properly Sized Clothing: Ensure your clothing fits correctly.
  • Use Windproof and Waterproof Materials: Choose appropriate gear to shield against the elements.
  • Avoid Over-Tightening: Don't cinch clothing and equipment too tightly, as it can restrict blood flow.