Red or sore skiniStock/jaim924Common areas where frostbite occurs are the fingers, toes, cheeks, nose, ears, and chin. If any of these turn red, that’s a sign of frostnip, an early warning sign of frostbite. Frostnip doesn’t permanently damage the skin, but it’s a signal to seek warm shelter quickly. Another frostnip symptom might include the skin feeling very cold to the touch.
Prickling feeling, like “pins and needles”iStock/dolgachovIf you don’t warm up after frostnip has kicked in, frostbite will enter its early stages. At that point, exposed skin may become numb or start to itch, burn, or sting. (Because of the numbness, many people can’t tell when frostbite has set in. To avoid the condition worsening, pay attention to the color and texture of the exposed skin.)
Hard, waxy skiniStock/artshotphotoProlonged exposure will lead to the skin hardening, a frostbite symptom that indicates possible tissue damage. The area may also start to look shiny or waxy. If you warm up during this intermediate stage of frostbite, also called superficial frostbite, water- or blood-filled blisters will form. Quickly seek medical attention to ensure there’s no lasting skin damage. Any continued exposure to the cold will lead to the advanced stage of frostbite, which can cause the affected tissue to die. (If you suspect someone has also developed hypothermia, which is a dip in body temperature, use these first aid guidelines for hypothermia.)
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