January 27, 2021
- Frostbite is a severe, localized cold-induced injury due to freezing and thawing of tissue.
- We usually see these injuries affecting the ears, nose, cheeks, chin, fingers, and toes. Patients will complain of cold, numb or stiff sensations and discoloration of the skin.
- Critical ED treatment starts with rewarming in a warm, NOT HOT, water bath, analgesia and wound care.
- More extensive treatments include blister debridement, tPA, prostacyclin analogues and fasciotomy. Patients with severe frostbite will likely require multidisciplinary care with surgery and critical care so consider early consults.
- And last, be sure to check the patients core temp and treat hypothermia complications, such as diuresis