|Frostnip Vs. Frostbite: What's the Difference?|
3 Questions About Frostnip and Frostbite|
Q. What’s the difference between frostbite and frostnip?
A. Frostbite is tissue damage caused by cold. Just as burns are rated according to severity, frostbite also has first, second, and third degree forms.
Frostnip is the mildest level of frostbite.
A. Frostbite typically affects body parts at the end of the circulatory line: fingers, toes and nose. The following chart shows some of the differences between frostbite levels.
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A. Treat frostnip by coming in out of the cold. Don’t rub, so as not to injure the fragile skin. As the skin warms, it may turn red and feel painfully prickly.
If it’s impossible to reach medical care promptly, warm the areas by soaking in warm water (104º to 108º Fahrenheit.) Expect severe, burning pain; swelling; and discoloration. Once the area is warm and pliable, apply sterile dressings. To minimize further damage, avoid moving the injured areas.
Prevention is the ideal treatment. Before you venture out, check the weather report. Choose layers of clothing in appropriate fabrics, and keep dry. Don’t forget to accessorize with hats, mittens and scarves.
Last updated and/or approved: January 2011. Original article appeared in November/December 2008 former print magazine. Bio current as of that issue. This general health-care information is not meant as individual advice. Please see our disclaimer.