After being exposed to very low temperatures, does your skin feel numb and lack sensation? It could be frostbite that is causing the signs and symptoms of numbness. Frostbite is a condition that is caused by changes in the layers of the skin due to extremely low temperatures, less than 23 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the human skin is exposed to extremely low temperatures, the first signs and symptoms of frostbite begin to appear, causing numbness and mild discoloration in some cases. In most cases, frostbite caused due to extremely low temperatures causes signs and symptoms such as white patches of the skin that feel slightly pricky or itchy.
Early signs and symptoms of frostbite caused by low temperatures include hard or waxy-looking skin and numbness. Often, people approach physicians for frostbite treatment only after others inform them of noticing the signs and symptoms. This is because, frostbite usually causes numbness in people that they fail to notice the first signs and symptoms, including blistering and clumsiness due to stiffness in the joints and muscles.
Frostbite can be superficial or it can occur in deeper layers. Depending upon the signs and symptoms, the treatment methods may vary. When the exposure to freezing temperatures is for a short while, a frostnip occurs and causes mild signs and symptoms such as numbness and prickling feeling. Usually, specific treatments are not required for mild signs and symptoms of frostbite.
However, if the exposure to severely low temperatures is for a longer period, the frostbite can affect superficial layers causing signs and symptoms such as white or pale skin. As some ice crystals may begin to form on the skin surface affected by frostbite, the skin may appear bluish purple when it feels an increase in temperature. With further exposure of frostbite to increased temperature, signs and symptoms such as stinging, burning, and swelling can occur. Treatment of this type of frostbite includes removal of fluid-filled blisters that may appear as final symptoms at the end of 24 to 36 hours of exposing the frostbite-affected skin to higher temperatures.
When the skin is subjected to even lower temperatures for very long periods of time, even deeper tissue is damaged, causing severe signs and symptoms that ought to be treated to prevent portions of the body from being amputated. In this case, signs and symptoms include deceptive loss of sensation including pain and discomfort and loss of function of joints. When the temperature rises, large blisters are formed and slowly the patch of skin turns black and dies. Before this happens, treatments should promptly begin for such severe frostbites. Otherwise, the blackened and dead skin and parts should be removed from the body to prevent further progression of frostbite.
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