risk management: tip of the week

Frostbite Risk

If you hear the word "frostbite" and think that it can only happen to mountain climbers, think again. Doctors in hospitals across the United States treat hundreds of cases of frostbite each year. You and your staff should be aware of the risks as you undertake outdoor tasks during the winter months.

Frostbite is a cold stress injury caused by the freezing of skin and underlying tissues. It typically affects the extremities, particularly the hands and feet. In severe cases, amputation may be required. Frostbite symptoms include:

  • Reddened skin with gray or white patches
  • Numbness
  • Hardening of skin
  • Blisters (in severe cases)

If someone appears to be suffering from frostbite, call 911 immediately. Move the person to a warm, dry area and remove any wet clothes. Loosely cover the affected area to prevent contact. To prevent further damage, do not rub the affected area, apply snow or water, or break blisters. It is not recommended to attempt to rewarm the frostbitten area. Follow the instructions of the 911 operator until medical help arrives.

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Mike Schofield

Mike Schofield
President & CEO