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Frostbite and freezing. Health care

Fundamentals of First Aid (OPMP)

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Frostbite may occur at low ambient temperatures. Tissue damage due to cooling can also occur at temperatures above zero, especially during periods of heavy snowfall, damp weather, wet clothes and impaired blood circulation (tight shoes). Frostbite most often affects the fingers and toes, nose and ears. Frostbite is facilitated by air humidity, wind, as well as blood loss during injury, weakening of the patient's health, and alcohol intoxication.

Snowdrifts pose the greatest danger to people and equipment caught on the way, far from human habitation. If the elements caught people on the road (in a car), do not try to overcome the snowdrifts. You should put the car with the engine in the windward side, completely close the blinds, cover the radiator. Periodically, you need to leave the cabin and shovel the snow so as not to be buried under it.

For early detection, it is necessary to give signals for help, hang a bright fabric on a pole (antenna). You should not stray far from the car unless you are sure that there is a safer place nearby. From time to time, you need to warm up the engine so that the exhaust pipe does not clog with snow.

If the weather caught a pedestrian, he needs to be able to build a shelter from dense snow. For these purposes, a dwelling is built from snow: blocks of snow are cut and laid in a ring, tilted inward. A snow cave, or even a snow pit with a hole covered with branches or snow, can be a shelter for a pedestrian.

Frostbite often occurs imperceptibly, without pain, so it is necessary to check the sensitivity of the skin of the face more often, constantly move your fingers and toes. In strong winds, it is better to cover your face with a scarf or a homemade mask. In order to avoid frostbite of the legs, it is advisable to move more.

Signs. With frostbite of the 1st degree, blanching of the skin occurs with loss of sensitivity. After warming, redness and cyanosis of the skin appear with a slight swelling, accompanied by a burning sensation. All phenomena pass in a few days. With frostbite of the 2nd degree, after warming, blisters with bloody contents appear on the skin, with the 3rd degree, necrosis of all layers of the skin develops, and with the 4th - necrosis of soft tissues and bones, of the entire limb.

In the development of all frostbite, two periods are distinguished. During the first (pre-reactive) period, that is, before warming up, the area of ​​frostbite is pale, insensitive, sometimes dense to the touch; vasospasm sets in, blood flow is disturbed, which leads to tissue malnutrition. With the onset of warming (during the second, reactive period), the blood flow slows down, inflammation appears, tissue edema, blisters on the skin and blockage of blood vessels appear, which leads to tissue necrosis. Usually, subsequently, the process of frostbite is more widespread and deeper than it is determined at first.

Providing first aid. It is necessary to quickly warm the frostbitten part of the body, preferably in a warm room. It is not recommended to rub the frostbitten area with snow. It is better to warm it in the bath, gradually bringing the temperature of the water to 37-38 ° C, washing with soap and making a careful but vigorous massage. Stroking the frostbitten part of the body in the direction of the heart should improve blood circulation and prevent blockage of blood vessels and tissue death. The massage is continued until the frostbitten tissues warm up and the cyanosis of the skin disappears. With a new appearance of cyanosis, the massage is resumed. If blisters occur, massage is not recommended. At the same time, the victim is given hot tea and coffee, alcoholic beverages.

When the frostbitten area warms up, it is wiped with alcohol, cologne or vodka and a bandage with a significant amount of cotton wool is applied to the affected area of ​​the body. Ointment dressings are harmful, as they complicate the subsequent surgical treatment of the frostbite site.

For the application of other measures of assistance (anti-tetanus serum, antibiotics, novocaine blockade), the patient must be quickly taken to a medical institution.

To prevent possible frostbite, it is necessary to gradually get used to the cold (hardening of the body). In cold weather, you need to ensure that shoes do not squeeze the limb and do not let water through. When working in the cold, you should eat hard, take hot drinks. The skin of the face and hands must be protected by lubrication with lard or fish oil.


Prolonged exposure to cold leads to a decrease in the temperature of the human body, to the inhibition of all vital processes and even to death.

Signs. The victim first feels chills, then drowsiness, drowsiness and deep sleep occur, during which breathing weakens, cardiac activity decreases, stiffness and death occur.

Providing first aid. It is necessary to place the victim in a warm room and warm him, rub his stiff hands and feet with alcohol or vodka. If swallowing is not disturbed, hot tea or coffee is recommended. In the absence of signs of life, measures are taken to revive.

Authors: Aizman R.I., Krivoshchekov S.G.

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