How to prevent, treat frostbite

How to prevent, treat frostbite

Doctors are warning of cold consequences as Wisconsin faces one of its first cold snaps this winter.

Frostbite can result in loss of limbs in extreme cases, and that’s one of the reasons UW Health Dermatologist Apple Bodemer is reminding people to bundle up.

“Hats – face masks – mittens – multiple layers,” she suggests.

An onset of frostbite will make cold, flushed skin turn to a waxy white, and if not tended to, will fade to a gray-black. Blistering is also common in later stages, Bodemer says.

Another warning for people who have already experienced frostbite – that previous injury can up your chances of getting hit again.

“You really need to protect that skin for a good six to 12 months and not expose it to cold,” Bodemer said. “Frostbite will happen much quicker and at much higher temperatures once you already have that damaged skin.”

Bodemer also suggests best practices for warming up after a couple of cold hours out in Wisconsin’s winter weather: change into warm clothes and wrap up in a blanket rather than running your hands under hot water. Already tender and vulnerably cold skin can be especially subject to burns and more damage.