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Frostbite

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Frostbite includes damage to blood vessels, nerves, muscle, tendon, bone, and skin caused by freezing temperatures. If you get frostbite once, the tissue is now more susceptible to future frostbite.

Frostbite includes damage to blood vessels, nerves, muscle, tendon, bone, and skin caused by freezing temperatures. If you get frostbite once, the tissue is now more susceptible to future frostbite.

Treating tissue damaged by cold is very similar to treating a burn. Before treating, try to determine the depth of the injury: superficial (1st degree), subdermal (2nd degree), or deep (3rd degree). Deep frostbite is a medical emergency and has an absence of sensation; the skin and feels hard and is waxy white with a purple tinge. For deep frostbite, necrosis or gangrene is a very real possibility.

Treatment

If you get frostbite, try to increase blood flow at the edge of the damaged tissue to stop further damage. Don't rub the skin too much because this can shear and break already damaged and fragile cell structures. Use rapid re-warming with hot water between 104 and 110 F (40 and 43 C) to increase blood flow to the site(s) of injury.

Never re-warm a site if there is any chance that it will become re-frozen. The freeze-thaw-refreeze cycle causes the most damage to a tissue site. If you don't have access to a tub, alternating hot towels will work.

To help with tissue healing after frostbite, immediately consider 2,000 ton 10,000 mg of vitamin C in divided doses throughout the day. Add to this the pineapple enzyme bromelain 1000 mg three times a day between meals. This will prevent inflammation of the damaged tissue. Add zinc, which is beneficial in wound healing, 30 mg/day as a remedy.

Aloe vera has a long track record in healing burns and it seems to help in frostbite. Hypericum perforatum (St. John's wort) is an excellent topical application which helps with nerve pain both in the acute and chronic phase of the injury. Calendula succus can be diluted and rinsed over the injured site to stimulate wound healing.

Agaricus muscarius is the leading homeopathic remedy and the main symptoms of itching indicate its use. I have had several cases of chilblains, chronic pain, and blistering at old frostbite locations cured with agaricus.

The best thing is to prevent frostbite altogether by bundling up when you go outside in the cold.

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