Freezing causes frostbite and home remedies can be useful in the early stages, but severe frostbite requires medical attention. Frostbite or cold burn is a skin and underlying tissue injury caused by over exposure to extreme cold-weather conditions.
The skin becomes very cold and red initially, then gets numb and finally turns hard and pale. Other causes of frostbite include direct contact with ice, freezing metals or very cold liquids. It mainly affects the fingers, toes and feet. Other exposed areas of the skin such as the nose,ears,and the cheeks also get frostbite.
Causes of Frostbite
When your body is exposed to extreme cold, the blood vessels constrict to divert the blood and oxygen to the vital organs efficiently. This reduces blood supplies to the extremities such as fingers, toes, ears and nose. After some time the cells begin to damage in these extremities due to lack of oxygen.
Ice crystals are formed causing swelling and hardness and gradual death of cells. Due to temperatures below freezing point blood clots are formed which further restrict the blood flow to these extremities.
If you are overexposed to cold weather particularly in high altitude and windy areas, your chances of getting frostbite significantly increases. Usually Soldiers, mountaineers and other people who are exposed to such high cold weather conditions are more at risk particularly if not well prepared to deal with the exposure.
Symptoms of Frostbite
Frostbite symptoms can be deceptive and any carelessness can cause severe skin and tissue damage.
If you experience numbness, tingling, itching or cold sensations in the affected area of your skin but when press the skin it retains the same resistance as the other skin then it is a superficial frostbite and home remedies will cure it.
With all the above symptoms if you do not get the same resistance by pressing as the other skin, then you are getting into a deeper frostbite. You will completely lose sensations soon and the area will begin to swell and blood filled blisters will appear. The area gets hardened and pale. You need immediate medical attention.
Home Remedies for Frostbite
1. Basic Premise Precautions to Prevent Frostbite
It certainly makes sense to do whatever you can to prevent frostbite when exposed to extreme cold weather conditions. Following precautions will help
- Go and find a shelter
- Change well clothing and replace it with dry clothes
- Remove all metal jewellery and metal ornaments from your body
- Wrap the area affected by frostbite in a blanket
- Avoid walking, if feet are affected by frostbite, otherwise you may fracture your bones
- Keep yourself fully hydrated, dehydration worsens the condition
- Do not rub the frostbite affected area of the skin it will cause more tissues damage
2. Warm the Frostbite affected Skin
If there is a possibility to rewarm the affected area then it should be done as soon as possible. However if there is a possibility of frostbite again then you shouldn't rewarm because this will damage the tissues much more severely. Under those circumstances let the frostbite be as it is.
Rewarming should never be done by massaging as it further damages the skin. Use heated water for rewarming for 30 minutes. Do it twice a day for many days until healed.
Frostbite can take weeks to months to get cured and you should follow your doctor’s advice.
Rewarming is a very painful process and you will require painkillers.
3. Banana Peel to Wrap Frostbite affected skin
Wrapping banana peel around the frostbite affected skin can help in faster healing. This is one of the simplest home remedies for Frostbite in which you can straight away wrap banana peel on the affected fingers or toes.
4. Apply Onion Poultice on Frostbite
Another useful home remedy for frostbite is onion.
Make a Poultice of chopped or shredded onions and apply it on the affected frostbite area.
5. Drink Sage Tea to Cure Frostbite
Sage Tea us an excellent remedy for frostbite to heal faster.
Drink the tea 2-3 times a day to get the best results.
Remember frostbite must be handled with care and the treatment including home remedies should be monitored by doctor to minimize the skin damage if any and recover completely.