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With temperatures dropping below zero, frostbite can occur quickly. Exposure to cold weather, contact with ice or frozen metal can result in frostbite. Skin that has been affected by frostbite will become very cold and red. Then the skin will become numb, hard, and pale. Common sites for frostbite include fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Any skin exposed to the cold can get frostbite.

Frostbite occurs in three stages: Stage 1: skin irritation, Stage 2: blisters, Stage 3: involves all layers of the skin and can result in permanent damage. Symptoms of frostbite can result in burning, numbness, tingling, grey or yellow skin or itching in the area affected. More severe frostbite results in permanent decrease in sensation, blisters, hardness and may result in blackened skin.

Preventing frostbite: Don’t go outside in extreme weather whenever possible. Dress according to the weather. Wear layers. Take care to protect your feet, hands, and face, and know the signs of frostbite. If you think you may have frostbite, seek immediate medical assistance. Rewarming the skin as soon as possible is necessary for effective treatment.

For more information on frostbite and tips on how to protect yourself, check out the sites listed below.