Frostbite and Frostnip Treatment
Treatment for frostbite and frostnip may include:
- Skin rewarming:
- Circulating warm water: 104-108 degrees F (40-42 C)
- Circulating warm air
- Intravenous fluids
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain
- Narcotic pain medication
- Wound care for cold injury
- Wound debridement for cold injury
- Tetanus immunization
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
Continue to Frostbite and Frostnip Home Care
- Hassi J, Makinen TM. Frostbite: occurrence, risk factors and consequences. Int J Circumpolar Health. 2000 Apr;59(2):92-8. 
- Su CW, Lohman R, Gottlieb LJ. Frostbite of the upper extremity. Hand Clin. 2000 May;16(2):235-47.