If you have never experienced frostbite, then you should count your lucky stars. Not only can frostbite be extremely painful, but if left untreated it could end up being fatal. We know that some people do have to work outdoors when the weather is frigid, so we wanted to give you a quick run down on the signs of frostbite and what to do if you suspect frostbite might be coming into play. Of course, the best treatment is prevention, which is where the best cold weather gloves come into play. But continue to read on in case you forget your gloves or they become wet for a long period of time

One of most common areas that frostbite effects are the fingers because they are the farthest away from the heart as it circulates blood throughout the body. Minor frostbite starts to occur when the outer most layer of the skin begins to freeze. If you look at your fingers and observe that they look as if they are white, then you are in danger of having the symptoms of frostbite progress. You should also take immediate action to keep yourself protected. Start by getting inside so that your hands can start to warm up. You want to make sure that your hands warm gradually as introducing a lot of heat all at once can actually cause more damage as can using dry heat.. If you plan on using water, the water should be lukewarm. Fingers that are defrosting may start to feel itchy, painful, turn red, or swell.

If frostbite is not caught in the early stage, the situation can turn more severe. When in this stage, you may notice the victim’s fingers turning gray and going numb. Sometimes blisters will accompany these symptoms and if they do, it is important that they are not ruptured. In addition, it is important that the afflicted fingers be introduced to warm environment so that they can slowly defrost over a period of about an hour. Damage can be increased if fingers start to thaw but then are introduced to the cold again. Rubbing frozen fingers, especially with snow, can also cause greater damage. Fingers should not be moved and once the return to a normal temperature, it is advised to wrap each digit in a sterile cloth. If color or feeling does not return, or the frostbitten fingers turn black, it is imperative that you seek medical attention immediately.

Be safe this winter season. Make sure to take frequent breaks so that you can avoid frostbite.