Do Not Rub Any Cold Injury With Snow

Do not massage the affected area.

Do not rewarm with stove or fire: a burn injury may result. Loosen constricting clothing. Avoid tobacco products.

d) Treatment of Superficial or Deep frostbite. Any frostbite injury, regardless of severity, is treated the same - evacuate the casualty and re-warming in the rear. Unless the tactical situation prohibits evacuation or you are in a survival situation, no consideration should be given to re-warming frostbite in the field. The reason is something-called freeze - thaw - re-freeze injury.

• Freeze - Thaw - Re-freeze injury occurs when a frostbitten extremity is thawed out, then before it can heal (which takes weeks and maybe months) it freezes again. This has devastating effects and greatly worsens the initial injury.

• In an extreme emergency it is better to walk out on a frostbitten foot than to warm it up and then have it freeze again.

• Treat frozen extremities as fractures - carefully pad and splint.

• Prevent further freezing injury.

• Do not forget about hypothermia. Keep the victim warm and dry.

• Once in the rear, a frostbitten extremity is re-warmed in a water bath, with the temperature strictly maintained at 101°F - 108°F.

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