Frostbite and Your Feet
With the first official arctic blast here today in Indy we should all be concerned about how much time we spend outside and what happens with excessive exposure. Frostbite is severe damage to our body with exposure to the elements for extended periods. The cold causes the blood flow to our extremities and other exposed body parts to decrease until a point where the body cannot sustain itself and the tissue dies. Some frostbite if caught early is reversible but there may be a long-lasting injury to the nerves that may cause chronic pain.
People with certain conditions are at higher risk such as smokers, diabetics, and people with PVD.
Protecting yourself from exposure means having cold weather shoes or boots. Wearing heavy socks that are made from materials to keeps tissues warmer such as wool. Changing your socks if they get wet is also very important as a combination of cold and wet causes frostbite to set on faster. Multiple layers also help to keep the body warmer.
If exposed, rapid rewarming of the body part is crucial. The best way to rewarm is in water at about 105 degrees. It is important to protect the body part from any physical injury as this rewarming occurs to prevent further injury.
Seek immediate treatment from a medical professional to evaluate the extent of the injury as soon as possible.