FIRST AID FOR: FROSTBITE; health focus.
Frostbite occurs after exposure to extreme cold, when the blood flow to the exposed area stops and the affected area of skin becomes frozen. Is it serious? Yes, and it should be treated as an emergency, but there's a first-aid routine you should carry out immediately. If treated quickly, frostbite has no effect, but severe cases can lead to gangrene and eventually amputation.
1 What should I do first?
Get the person out of the cold immediately and ask someone else to call for medical help.
2 Don't apply direct heat or rub the affected part. If toes or fingers are frostbitten, immerse them in warm water and add more to keep the temperature constant. If you have no warm water, put the hands or feet under your armpits, hold their face against your body.
3 Wrap the person in blankets and them hot drinks. Don't let them on a frostbitten foot.
4 When the affected part becomes pink, stop warming it and wrap in anything that will keep in the heat. Go to the nearest casualty department.
5 While you're travelling to the hospital raise their feet or put their hands across their chest to keep the blood flowing.