Results from Search: "frostbite"

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Frostbite, First Aid

Frostbite is freezing of the skin that occurs due to exposure to cold temperatures. Frostbite often starts out with mild symptoms and can progress and become quite severe and even limb-threatening.Mild frostbite is considered skin that is either red and painful, or white and numb. Severe frostbite includes blistering skin, hard skin (due to frozen bone and blood vessels), and possibly gangrene (tissue that has died and turned black, after blood vessels became frozen).Frostbite is often associated with hypothermia.First Aid GuideIn the case of mild frostbite, the following measures should be taken: Move the person someplace that is warmer. Remove clothing from the affected area. Rewarm the affected area until sensation in the skin has returned and the skin is soft (for at least 30 minutes). Rewarming of frostbitten skin is typically accompanied by pain, swelling, and color change. To rewarm an extremity, place the limb in a bath of warm water (ie, 100°–105° F). Continue to circulate and refresh the warm water. To rewarm an area that cannot be soaked in a bath of water, apply a warm compress. (Ensure that the compress is warm but not hot.) Apply a clean (sterile, if possible), dry dressing to the affected area. Re-cover the affected area with dry clothing to keep it warm. Obtain medical help.Note: Frostbitten areas, once thawed, should be moved as little as possible. Do not massage the affected area to attempt to rewarm it. Avoid disturbing any blisters or skin that has become gangrenous. Do not use direct heat (hair dryers, heating pads, etc) to rewarm the affected area. If there is potential for refreezing of an area, do not attempt to thaw, as thawing followed by refreezing can cause even more extensive damage to the area.When a person has both frostbite and hypothermia, contact emergency medical services, and give first aid for the hypothermia followed by first aid for the frostbite.First aid measures for hypothermia are as follows: Check the person's ABCs: open the airway, and check breathing and circulation. Move the person to a warmer area, and replace any wet or constricting clothes with loose, dry clothing. To rewarm the person: Cover the person completely with foil or a space blanket, or use your own body heat to help warm him/her. Use warm compresses on the neck, chest, and groin. Give warm, sweet fluids. (Any fluids given should be nonalcoholic, as alcohol interferes with the blood's circulation.)

Blisters, First Aid

A blister (bulla) is caused when the outer layer of the skin separates from a layer of skin below, creating a collection of fluid between the layers. Blisters can be caused by chemical means, such as an allergic reaction; physical injury, such as from heat, frostbite, or friction; or from a disease. If the blister has been caused by a burn, see the Burns, First Aid write-up via the Disease List. If the blister has been caused by frostbite, see the Frostbite, First Aid write-up, which can also be found via the Disease List.First Aid GuideBlisters often go away on their own without needing any care, and the skin over the blister is its best defense against infection. If the blister is large or painful, however, you can drain the blister in such a way as to relieve the discomfort and hopefully avoid infection. Note: Blisters that look like they will pop on their own should be drained, unless the blister looks infected or you have a fever; multiple, grouped blisters; diabetes; or poor circulation. Clean your hands and the affected area with soap and warm water. Apply rubbing alcohol to the affected area. Wipe a needle with rubbing alcohol to sterilize it. Puncture the blister with the sterilized needle at its edge, making the hole big enough to drain fluid. Let the fluid drain, making sure to leave the overlying skin in place. Note: This skin will help prevent infection. Apply an antibiotic ointment (eg, bacitracin) to the blister, and bandage the affected area. Once the overlying skin has dried, allow it to fall off naturally or use sterilized scissors to cut the dead skin off. Apply antibiotic ointment and a bandage, if necessary.Prevention of blisters is key. The following measures will help prevent blisters from occurring: Wear acrylic socks, particularly ones that fit you well. While cotton socks were once the recommendation to avoid blisters, they tend to become misshapen when wet and are never as form-fitting as acrylic socks. When picking out shoes, be sure to go shopping during the middle of the day, when your feet are slightly swollen. (Feet normally swell as the day goes on.) Make sure you can wiggle your toes, and be sure that both the left and right shoes fit properly. (Many people have two different size feet.) Apply powder to your feet before activity that may cause friction. Wear work gloves when using tools that cause friction on hands.

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