Frostbite and Hypothermia
Frostbite is a severe reaction to cold exposure of the skin that can permanently damage fingers, toes, the nose, and ear lobes. Symptoms are numbness and a white or pale appearance to the skin. When symptoms are apparent, seek medical help immediately. If medical help is not immediately available, slowly warm the affected areas.
Hypothermia, or low body temperature, is a condition brought on when the body temperature drops to less than 95 degrees F. Symptoms include slow or slurred speech, incoherence, memory loss, disorientation, uncontrollable shivering, drowsiness, repeated stumbling, and apparent exhaustion. If these symptoms are detected, take the person’s temperature. If below 95 degrees F, immediately seek medical attention. If medical help is not available, begin warming the person slowly. Always warm the body core first. Get the person into dry clothing, and wrap them in a warm blanket covering the head and neck. Do not give the victim alcohol, drugs, coffee, or any hot beverage. Warm broth is better. Do not warm extremities (arms and legs) first. This drives the cold blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure.