survival-doctor-ad-stabbed
My Family Doctor Blog

Google search



Free Health Newsletter

free-health-newsletterThank you for visiting! You can sign up for our free monthly newsletter here. You'll get the latest articles, with tips and insights from doctors, registered dietitians and more.

We never spam or share your email address.

Click here to read previous newsletters.

Frostnip Vs. Frostbite: What's the Difference?
ice-branch3 Questions About Frostnip and Frostbite


by Eva F. Briggs, M.D.

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.


Q. What are the symptoms of frostbite and frostnip?

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.

Frostnip Second-degree Frostbite Third-degree Frostbite
Skin looks pale and feels cold, numb and stiff. Skin turns white or blue and feels hard and frozen. Skin turns white, blue or mottled.
The underlying tissues remain warm and flexible. Deeper tissues are unharmed. The tissues beneath the skin feel hard and frozen.
It’s uncomfortable but doesn’t lead to blisters, scarring or permanent damage. The skin blisters after rewarming. Deeper body parts are injured, such as blood vessels, nerves, tendons and muscle.

Get articles like this monthly, with our free health newsletter!


Q. What's the treatment for frostbite and frostnip?

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.

More severe frostbite demands medical attention as soon as possible.newsletter-graphic

  1. Move the person to a warm place.
  2. Remove wet clothing, as well as jewelry that might constrict injured areas.
  3. If it doesn’t delay getting medical treatment, wrap the affected parts in sterile dressings, carefully separating fingers and toes.
  4. Bring the person to an emergency room.

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.


EVA F. BRIGGS, M.D.,
is a board-certified family physician in Marcellus, N.Y.


YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN:


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.
Share/Save/Bookmark
Comments (1)add comment
0
FINGERS FREEZE UP
written by TODD MOBLEY , November 30, 2014

I HOPE YOU CAN GIVE ME SOME ADVICE ABOUT THE PROBLEM I'VE BEEN HAVING WITH MY HANDS DURING COLDER WEATHER . THE TEMPERATURE OUTSIDE ANY WHERE SOUTH OF THE 40s MAKES MY FINGERS ACHE . GLOVES HELP , BUT OUT DOOR ACTIVITIES LAST 15 TO 30 MINUETS BEFORE I'M FORCED TO WARM MY HANDS . I CAN BE SWEATY HOT & HAVE MY FINGERS FREEZE UP IN THE SAME 15 TO 30 MINUETS . NORMALLY PLACING ONES HANDS UNDER COLD WATER CAN BE VERY PAINFUL . WITH MY CONDITION , HOT WATER DOES THE TRICK . ABOUT 5 YEARS AGO I FROST NIPPED MY HANDS . FOR THE FIRST COUPLE YEARS AFTER THAT , I DID NOT NOTICE ANY SYMPTOMS . THE LAST 2 YEARS HAVE BEEN VERY BOTHERSOME . GETTING OLDER (I'M 52)MAKES THINGS LIKE COLD WEATHER MORE CHALLENGING . I FEEL THERE IS SOMETHING ABNORMAL IN MY CONDITION , CONSIDERING THE SHORT TIME LINE & ABOVE FREEZING TEMPERATURES THAT CAUSE ME PROBLEMS . ANY HELP WOULD BE MUCH APPRECIATED . THANK YOU .
report abuse
vote down
vote up

Votes: +0


Write comment
smaller | bigger
 

busy
 
© My Family Doctor 2014.
Magazine Publishing Website Design and Digital Magazine Media Solutions for Publishers