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During this cold period of the year, it is even more important to take precautions when it’s time to go outside if we want to fully enjoy outdoor activities and avoid cold injuries such as frostbites.

Frostbite occurs when the skin is exposed to cold for a prolonged period of time. The commonly affected areas are the extremities such as ears, nose, cheeks, fingers and toes. It is important to be well dressed before going outside for a long period.

Frostbite has several stages. First, the skin turns either red or white and becomes cold at touch. This can lead to numbness, tingling and even lead to intense burning.

- Slight frostbite : the skin whitens and crystals start to form within soft tissue. 24 to 36 hours following warming of the affected area, small blisters may appear.

- Severe frostbite: Total loss of sensation. Frostbite extends to the underlying tissue and members can stop working. 24 to 48 hours after warming the affected area, big blisters may appear and the member may turn black and necrotic.

How to treat: Remove wet clothing. Warm the region slowly with body heat, hands or underarms. Avoid friction. Most of all, do not warm the affected area with warm water, the sudden change in temperature can damage the blood vessels.


How to prevent: Avoid prolonged exposure to cold, especially during windy days. Dress appropriately with several layers of comfortable clothing, not too tight. Wear well-fitting socks, that breathe well and do not retain moisture. It is always a good idea to carry a second pair of socks, just in case. It is important to change clothes as soon as they become damp.