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· Registered
64 Posts
The recommendation is that if you CANT rewarm the part, then to leave it frozen. The thawing process will be excrutiating, and once thawed, infection spreads more rapidly than when frozen. Cover the part to insure the freeze doesn't extend further and further, but dont' try to thaw it by rubbing (you'll just do tissue damage) without a fire it will take far more heat than your body generates to re-heat a frozen body part, and you need to ADD heat to the part, not simply keep it warm(ish).

· Emergency Manager
103 Posts

How can you treat someone for frost bite when you are out in the wilderness, unable to stop and build a fire?
Excellent and timely question!

Frostbite knowledge is an essential part of winter weather planning.

Many States have winter weather awareness weeks. Your local media should give updates when this occurs in your area.

The National Weather Service is an important player in not only providing winter weather forecasts but also in giving action statements during their various warnings.

From the American Red Cross, the treatment for frostbite is:

Frostbite usually affects an exposed extremity. In case of
frostbite, remove wet clothing and make sure the victim does
not develop hypothermia. Get the victim to a medical facility
as rapidly as possible. Do not try to rewarm the frostbite if
there is any chance that it might refreeze or if you are close
to a medical facility. If you are in a remote area far from a
medical facility, you may slowly rewarm the frostbite using
warm water (100°F to 105°F)

To the question of wilderness location, I'd suggest that you bring the person inside quickly. Can you put them in a car? Keep the body core warm.

I am not a fan of rewarming in the field. Evacuate to medical care is the best choice of action, if that is available to you.

First aid classes and CERT training will help prepare you for dealing with this and other potentially life-threatening emergencies.

Thanks for the timely question. Winter is just one season away. :)
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