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First aid for frostbite

Among household and occupational injuries, a special place is occupied by injuries resulting from exposure to negative temperatures.

Frostbite is also possible at a positive (from 0 to + 5 °) air temperature, if the wind is strong and humidity is high.

It is customary to distinguish between general cooling when the whole body temperature decreases. and local frostbite of hands, feet, auricles, nose, cheeks, areas of the knee joints.

In a state of intoxication, the susceptibility of the body to cold increases, and since a person loses control over his actions. increases the risk of frostbite. They are also possible when a person is in the cold in close shoes for a long time. People suffering from vascular diseases (regional iterative endarteritis and atherosclerosis), in which the peripheral circulation is impaired, are more susceptible to frostbite.

The peculiarity of cold injury is that the processes occurring in the tissues under the influence of low temperatures, with timely and properly provided first aid can be reversed.

It is better if the first aid to victims is provided in a medical institution. However, it is much more often necessary to do this in the order of self-help and mutual aid, and, unfortunately, not always correctly. As a result, there are many complications, sometimes severe.

For a long time, it was believed that, when assisting with frostbite, it was imperative to rub the frostbitten parts of the body with snow and bring the person into a warm room as soon as possible.

Such actions are unacceptable! First of all. because rubbing the skin with snow aggravates frostbite and injures it with ice crystals, and this threatens infected frost-bitten areas and suppuration. Secondly, rapid warming in a warm room can lead to tissue necrosis.

Currently, first aid tactics have changed due to the fact that new data on the mechanisms of tissue damage during hypothermia have been obtained.

It has been established that the main disorders in frostbite occur in the Micro vascular bed of the affected tissues: their blood supply is reduced, due to which they receive insufficient oxygen. However, at low temperatures, this does not entail pronounced organic disorders. In the process of rapid warming, the tissues are heated unevenly: first, the surface layers are heated, and metabolic processes are restored in them. The deeper layers warm up more slowly, which prevents the restoration of normal blood flow, and hence the supply of superficial tissues, as a result of which they die.


Before you enter the victim into a warm room, it is necessary to put on the frost-bitten areas (only on the area with pronounced blanching of the skin ‘) heat-insulating bandages of gauze or a wide bandage with a layer of cotton. You can also use scarves, scarves, warm cotton or fur gloves, any warm clothes. In this way, the frozen tissue is isolated from the surrounding air. and warming occurs slowly, due to the generation of heat by the body. Very good to give the victim a drink of hot tea.

IN NO EVENT DO NOT HEAT THE FROZEN PLOTS WITH THE HELP OF HOT BATH OR DRY HEAT. This dramatically increases the metabolic processes, which leads to the development of necrosis (necrosis) of tissues, since the blood circulation in them has not yet been restored.

If help is provided correctly and on time, in most cases it is possible to fully restore blood circulation in frostbitten tissues. With prolonged exposure to cold. and if the affected person has a leg vessel disease after first aid, he should be taken to a medical facility as soon as possible.

Necrotic changes in tissues during frostbite often do not develop immediately, but 3 to 5 days after hypothermia. Edema gradually increases on the background of pronounced cyanosis of the skin, blisters appear. This indicates a profound damage to tissues and is fraught with serious consequences. Therefore, in any case, after the first aid, the victim must visit the doctor.

If the face is slightly frostbite, it is recommended to gently rub the whitened areas with a soft woolen cloth (mitten, scarf). To prevent frostbite of the face, it is recommended to lubricate the skin with any animal fat before going out into the cold.

When you have to work in the winter in the open air, you must first strictly follow the safety regulations. It is necessary to dress warmly using the entire set of workwear. In the breaks, try to warm up by going into the room.

Particularly prone to frostbite are people who in the past have already suffered a cold injury. They need to be very careful.

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