Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Frostbite and Frostnip Treatment

Treatment for frostbite and frostnip may include:


Treatment of Frostnip
Frostnip may be treated safely at home. The affected part may be slowly warmed by breathing onto the injured site, such as breathing into cupped hands. A hand with frostnip can also be warmed under the armpit.

Numbness gives way to a warm flush feeling that can be painful as rewarming progresses. With time, frostnip will heal by itself.

Treatment of Frostbite
Any person with frostbite injury should be immediately transported to a medical facility. Trying to warm frostbitten skin in the field can cause more harm than good. Re-freezing of thawed frostbitten tissue can increase the severity of the original injury.

Topical or oral antibiotics are often necessary for bacterial infection of the frostbitten tissue.

Deep frostbite injury will eventually lead to some shedding of dead tissue over the following weeks to months. Surgical removal of dead tissue may be necessary. In severe cases, a bone scan can be used to assess blood flow to underlying bone.

Frostbite and Frostnip Specialist

Physicians from the following specialties evaluate and treat frostbite and frostnip:

Continue to Frostbite and Frostnip Home Care

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Frostbite and Frostnip References
  1. Hassi J, Makinen TM. Frostbite: occurrence, risk factors and consequences. Int J Circumpolar Health. 2000 Apr;59(2):92-8. [10998825]
  2. Su CW, Lohman R, Gottlieb LJ. Frostbite of the upper extremity. Hand Clin. 2000 May;16(2):235-47. [10791170]
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