Frostbite
Damage to tissues from freezing due to the formation of ice crystals within cells, rupturing the cells and leading to cell death. Frostbite goes through several stages: {{}}First degree injury: When only the surface skin is frozen, the injury is called frostnip. Frostnip begins with itching and pain. The skin then blanches and eventually the area becomes numb. Frostnip generally does not lead to permanent damage because only the top layers of skin are involved. However, frostnip can lead to long-term sensitivity to heat and cold. Second degree injury: If freezing continues, the skin may become frozen and hard while the deep tissues are spared and remain soft and normal. This type of injury generally blisters 1-2 days after freezing. The blisters may become hard and blackened. However, they usually look worse than they are. Most of these injuries heal over 3-4 weeks. although, again, the area may remain permanently sensitive to heat and cold. Third and fourth degree injuries: If further freezing continues, deep frostbite occurs. All of the muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and nerves freeze. The extremity is hard, feels woody, and use is lost temporarily, and in severe cases, permanently. The involved area appears deep purple or red with blisters that are usually filled with blood. This type of severe frostbite may result in the loss of fingers and toes. It can take several months to determine how much damage has actually been done by the freezing process. For this reason, surgery to remove tissue that is not capable of surviving is frequently delayed. Prevention: The best way to prevent frostbite is to dress warmly and move indoors once your fingers or toes begin to feel cold. Always keep your hands and feet dry and your ears covered. Treatment: The best way to warm a frozen part is to put it into a tub of hot water at 104-108 degrees F (40-42 degrees C). Make sure to test the temperature of the water with a thermometer or a hand that is not frozen! Do NOT thaw the extremity if there is a risk of it re-freezing! It is best to leave the part frozen until it can permanently. Refreezing leads to more severe damage. If you are camping and unable to get indoors, leave the extremity frozen. Do NOT burn the injured area (which may lack feeling). Warming over a fire or next to a heater should be avoided! These methods have a high risk of burns and tend to dry out the injured tissue, thereby causing more damage. Do NOT rub the extremity with snow. Any rubbing may aggravate the injury. The injured tissue can be fragile and must be handled gently. There may be considerable pain when the frostbitten area is rewarmed. Acetaminophen (Tylenol and others), aspirin, naproxen (Aleve and others) or ibuprofen (Advil and others) may be used to help the discomfort. If stronger pain measures are needed, contact a physician..
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Local tissue destruction resulting from exposure to extreme cold; in mild cases, it results in superficial, reversible freezing followed by erythema and slight pain (frostnip); in severe cases, it can be painless or paresthetic and result in blistering, persistent edema, and gangrene. F. is currently treated by rapid rewarming.

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frost·bite 'frȯs(t)-.bīt vt, -bit -.bit; -bit·ten -.bit-ən; -bit·ing -.bīt-iŋ to affect or injure by frost or frostbite
frostbite n the superficial or deep freezing of the tissues of some part of the body (as the feet or hands) also the damage to tissues caused by freezing

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n.
damage to the tissues caused by freezing. The affected parts, usually the nose, fingers, or toes, become pale and numb. Ice forms in the tissues, which may thus be destroyed, and amputation may become necessary. Frostbitten parts should not be rubbed, since there is no blood circulation in the tissues, but they may be gently warmed in tepid water. Precautions must be taken against bacterial infection, to which frostbitten skin is highly susceptible.

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frost·bite (frostґbīt) damage to tissues as the result of exposure to low environmental temperatures; called also congelation.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Frostbite — Frost bite , v. t. To expose to the effect of frost, or a frosty air; to blight or nip with frost. [1913 Webster] My wife up and with Mrs. Pen to walk in the fields to frostbite themselves. Pepys. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Frostbite — Frost bite, n. The freezing, or effect of a freezing, of some part of the body, as the ears, fingers, toes, or nose. Severe frostbite can lead to the loss of fingers or toes. Kane …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • frostbite — (n.) also frost bite, 1813, from FROST (Cf. frost) + BITE (Cf. bite) …   Etymology dictionary

  • frostbite — ► NOUN ▪ injury to body tissues, especially the nose, fingers, or toes, caused by exposure to extreme cold …   English terms dictionary

  • frostbite — [frôst′bīt΄] vt. frostbit, frostbitten, frostbiting to injure the tissues of (a part of the body) by exposing to, or numbing with, intense cold n. tissue damage caused by such exposure …   English World dictionary

  • Frostbite — This article is about a medical condition. For other uses, see Frostbite (disambiguation). Frostbite Classification and external resources Frostbitten hands ICD 10 …   Wikipedia

  • frostbite — /frawst buyt , frost /, n., v., frostbit, frostbitten, frostbiting. n. 1. injury to any part of the body after excessive exposure to extreme cold, sometimes progressing from initial redness and tingling to gangrene. v.t. 2. to injure by frost or… …   Universalium

  • Frostbite — Der Name Frostbite (vom Englischen frostbite für „Erfrierung“) steht für: Frostbite (Album) – ein Album des isländischen Musikers Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson in Zusammenarbeit mit Einar Örn Benediktsson von 1993 Frostbite Engine – eine Spiel Engine von …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • frostbite — I. transitive verb (frostbit; frostbitten; frostbiting) Date: 1593 to affect or injure by frost or frostbite II. noun Date: 1813 the superficial or deep freezing of the tissues of some part of the body (as the feet or hands); also the damage to… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • frostbite — [[t]frɒ̱stbaɪt, AM frɔ͟ːst [/t]] N UNCOUNT Frostbite is a condition in which parts of your body, such as your fingers or toes, become seriously damaged as a result of being very cold. The survivors suffered from frostbite …   English dictionary

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