Prevent Frostbite and Hypothermia

Frostbite and hypothermia are dangerous conditions that can occur when someone is exposed to cold temperatures. In fact, hypothermia can set in even if the temperatures are above freezing.

What is frostbite?Person who is outside and dressed up in winter gear with mittens held up to her face

Frostbite is the most common injury resulting from exposure to temperatures below freezing (32F).  Even skin that is protected can be subject to frostbite. It leads to a loss of feeling and color in the areas it affects, and it usually occurs on fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. If you think you have frostbite, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

What is hypothermia?

Hypothermia occurs when the body's core temperature drops below 95oF. Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposure to very cold temperatures, but the temperatures don't have to be below freezing for one to get hypothermia. The risk of hypothermia increases when temperatures are cold and a person is chilled from rain, sweat, wind or submersion in cold water. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it’s produced, which can lead to hypothermia. Check responsiveness and breathing. Provide CPR if unresponsive and not breathing normally. Call 911 immediately.

Avoid. Spot. Treat.

Follow this advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to prevent frostbite or hypothermia.

This infographic by the CDC gives tips on how to spot, treat and avoid frostbite and hypothermia. Opens in new window