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What is frostbite?

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Frostbite is a treatable but potentially serious condition that happens if a body part isn't properly covered when you’re outside in freezing temperatures. Just like water turns to ice when the temperature drops, your fingers, hands, toes, feet -- even your nose and ears -- can freeze. In severely frigid weather, frostbite can happen in just 5 minutes.

When exposed skin gets red or sore, it's called frostnip. That’s an early warning sign of frostbite. Find warm shelter quickly.

SOURCES:

CDC: "Frostbite." 

National Weather Service: "Wind Chill."

Health Guidance: "Stages of Frostbite."

Cayuga Medical Center: "Risk of Frostbite."

American Academy of Dermatology: "Frostbite Prevention and Treatment."

Nemours Foundation, Kids Health: "Frostbite."

NHS: "Frostbite Symptoms."

Flatt, A. , July 2010. Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings

Zafren, K. , March 2013. High Altitude Medicine & Biology

Cauchy, E. , January 13, 2011. New England Journal of Medicine

Handford, C. , April 22, 2014. Extreme Physiology and Medicine

Merck Manual: "Frostbite."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on September 9, 2019

SOURCES:

CDC: "Frostbite." 

National Weather Service: "Wind Chill."

Health Guidance: "Stages of Frostbite."

Cayuga Medical Center: "Risk of Frostbite."

American Academy of Dermatology: "Frostbite Prevention and Treatment."

Nemours Foundation, Kids Health: "Frostbite."

NHS: "Frostbite Symptoms."

Flatt, A. , July 2010. Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings

Zafren, K. , March 2013. High Altitude Medicine & Biology

Cauchy, E. , January 13, 2011. New England Journal of Medicine

Handford, C. , April 22, 2014. Extreme Physiology and Medicine

Merck Manual: "Frostbite."

Reviewed by Sabrina Felson on September 9, 2019

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What are symptoms of frostbite?

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