Do you have Frostbite? Hypothermia? Is there a difference?
You have frostbite when your body tissue freezes. The most susceptible parts of the body are fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the tip of the nose. Symptoms include a loss of feeling in the extremity and a white or pale appearance. Get medical attention immediately for frostbite. The area should be SLOWLY rewarmed using warm, not hot water.
- Hypothermia occurs when body temperature falls below 95°F. Determine your temperature with a thermometer.
- Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and exhaustion.
- Get medical attention immediately. If you can’t get help quickly, begin warming the body SLOWLY. Warm the body core first, NOT the extremities. Warming extremities first drives the cold blood to the heart and can cause the body temperature to drop further–which may lead to heart failure.
- If you are helping someone else with hypothermia, get the person into dry clothing and wrap in a warm blanket. Be sure to cover the head and neck.
- Do not give the person alcohol, drugs, coffee, or any HOT beverage or food. WARM broth and food is better.
- About 20% of cold related deaths occur in the home. Young children under the age of two and the elderly (those more than 65 years old), are most susceptible to hypothermia.
- Hypothermia can set in over a period of time. Keep the thermostat above 69°F, wear warm clothing, eat food for warmth, and drink plenty of water or fluids other than alcohol and caffeine to keep hydrated.
- Avoid alcohol because it will LOWER your body temperature.
Information provided by NOAA/NWS: