Last winter, doctors at HCMC’s Burn Center treated 200 patients with frostbite injuries. That is a record year compared to 25 patients in an average year.
HCMC lists the stages and symptoms of frostbite by degree:
First degree: A mild form of frostbite in which your skin turns red and feels really cold.
Second degree: In this stage the reddened skin will turn white or very pale. Upon warming, blisters may appear. This results in some tissue and nerve damage.
Third degree: Affecting all layers of the skin, the area will turn black and hard as tissue dies.
Mayo Clinic doctors say a prickling feeling or numbness can be an indication that your skin has been affected by the cold. Mayo Clinic emergency medicine specialist Dr. David Nestler compares frostbite to burns.
“If there was too much fire exposure, that could damage the fingers to where they couldn’t survive. Cold can do the exact same thing, “Dr. Nestler said. “It’s the opposite extreme with the same effect, which is tissue that is nonfunctioning.”
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