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FROSTBITE

It is defined as a direct freezing of body tissues. Frostbite is most likely to happen in body parts farthest from the heart and those with large exposed areas. Thus, it usually affects the extremities, in particular the fingers, toes, ears and face.

Risk factors:
1.Smoking
2.Alcohol Consumption
3.Diabetes
4.Peripheral Vascular disease.
5.Dehydration

Stages:
There are three stages of frostbite. Each of these stages have varying degrees of pain.

1. Stage 1
First degree frostbite causes skin to appear yellow or white. There may also be slight burning sensations. This stage of frostbite is relatively mild and can be reversed by the gradual warming of the affected area.

2. Stage 2
Second degree frostbite develops after continued exposure. This stage is characterized by the disappearance of pain and the reddening and swelling of the skin. Treatment in this stage may result in blisters and it may also peel the skin.

3. Stage 3
Third degree frostbite results in waxy and hard skin. It is at this stage that the skin dies and edema may occur as a result of the lack of blood.
If third degree frostbite is not treated immediately then the damage and the frostbite becomes permanent, nerve damage will occur due to oxygen deprivation. Frostbitten areas will turn discolored, purplish at first, and soon turn black. After a while nerve damage becomes so great that feeling is lost in the frostbitten areas. Blisters will also occur. If feeling is lost in the damaged area, checking it for cuts and breaks in the skin is vital. Infected open skin can lead to gangrene and amputation may be needed.

Treatment:
1.Rewarming should not be attempted if there is any further risk of freezing as refreezing may increases the risk of ultimate injury.
2.Rewarming must be active using warm water. And is associated with pain.
3.Direct heat and rubbing must be avoided to prevent further tissue injury.
4.Excessive movement of frostbitten tissue can cause ice crystals that have formed in the tissue to do further damage. Splinting and/or wrapping frostbitten extremities are therefore recommended to prevent such movement.
5.Management has to be done to prevent infection of affected area.
6.Surgery to remove dead tissue.
7.Homoeopathy- medicines will help in relieving pain, preventing infection and speeding up the healing process along with the conventional methods.

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