Pharmacy Clinical Pearl of the Day: Frostbite

In the earliest stage of frostbite, there is no permanent damage to the skin.

Clinical Pearl of the Day: Frostbite

Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing of the skin and underlying tissues.

Insight:

  • In the earliest stage of frostbite, known as frostnip, there is no permanent damage to skin.
  • Symptoms include cold skin and a prickling feeling, followed by numbness and inflamed or discolored skin. As frostbite worsens, skin may become hard or waxy-looking.
  • Frostbite occurs in few stages: Frostnip, superficial frostbite, and deep frostbite.
  • Causes may include staying in cold for too long and wearing clothes that are not appropriate.
  • Risk factors include alcohol use, smoking, fear, panic, previous frostbite history, and being an infant.
  • Diagnosis includes skin evaluation and assessment by the health care professional.
  • Treatment includes rewarming the skin, oral pain medication, removing the damaged skin, infection-fighting drugs, clot-busting drugs, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and wound care.

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