Natures Way

Dr. Sahni's Homoeopathy

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First Aid - Frostbite


Frostbite is caused by exposure to damp cold temperatures around freezing or to dry cold temperatures well below freezing. Like burns this is classified according to the severity.

  • First Degree, is the mildest, without any blistering or peeling of the skin.
  • Second Degree, is more severe, with blisters and peeling after the body part has thawed.
  • Third Degree, results in the symptoms of the second degree plus actually death of some tissues (necrosis). Sometimes in third degree frostbite the hands or feet, usual parts affected may swell up with oedema. When only the surface tissue dies, even though it may appear black and ominous, good recovery is still possible. But when deep tissue dies surgery to remove the tissues and possible and possible amputation may be necessary.
First Degree Forstbite

First Degree

Second Degree Frostbite

Second Degree

First Degreee Frostbite (Later Stage)

First Degree (Later Stage)

Third Degree Frostbite

Third Degree

Image Courtesy: Home Medical Advisor & Medical Encyclopedia , The Learning Company, INC. Cambridge

Management of Frostbites

First Aid is very important in any case of frostbite. The following are the few DON'TS:

  • DO NOT rub the frostbitten area with snow or ice or cold water.
  • DO NOT message the skin.
  • DO NOT warm up the body part by exposing it to the heat of a radiator, stove or fire.
  • DO NOT put the affected part in hot water.

Such measures speed up, rather than reduce, any tendency of the frostbitten area to suffer tissue death or become infected.

What you should DO then?

  • If you are still outside warm the affected body part if possible by placing it close to a warm part of the body. You can continue to do this indoors very effectively. You can put a frostbitten hand between yours thighs or in your arm pits. You can cover your noise or ear gently with a warm hand.
  • A good way to re-warm hands or feet is to put them into a basin of water warm only to about 100 degree Fahrenheit or 38 degree Centigrade- almost normal body temperature. Be SURE to check the water temperature with a thermometer as temperature above about 112 degree Fahrenheit (44 degree Celsius) are harmful. In case no thermometer is handy, be SURE that the water is barely Luke warm, not hot or cold.
  • A person with warm hands may help thaw other person's hand or fingers merely by enclosing them within the palms and exerting a very gentle pressure.
  • After thawing has been completed elevate the extremity to improve blood circulation. Keep the limb at room temperature without any bandages or bed covers that might cause friction and further damage the tissues. 
  • Unless the frostbite was very mild, call your doctor for special instructions.
  • When the part has heeled special exercises may be prescribed to help restore normal movements and circulations of hands and feet.
  • Guard against frostbite by wearing warm, but never tight gloves, socks and other winter clothing's.
  • By all means get indoor if you sense that frostbite has occurred. These precautions are specially important if you are diabetic or have a circulatory disease.
  • If person has suffered exposure to his entire body to freezing temperatures so that he is unconscious, only partially conscious or drowsy one must take emergency measures. 
  • Check for hypothermia
  • Call all a doctor immediately or go to a emergency room immediately

Homoeopathic Treatment

Agaricus 1M is very useful in First & Second degree of Frostbite cases. Ferrum Phos 3x or 6x is also very helpful as a background remedy. Other remedies like Rhus Tox 200C, 1M & Pulsatilla 30C or higher also works in Frostbite if symptoms agree. Secale Cor 30C & Ars Alb 200C, 1M can be used in Third degree cases. Post amputation Neuralgia can be taken care by Allium Cepa 1M successfully.

Updated on: 01 Feb 2010