Cold Stress Safety

Cold Stress Safety

Frostbite and hypothermia are cold-weather injuries that may become life-threatening in a matter of minutes. Frostbite is caused by exposure to dry, cold temperatures below freezing. When it happens, skin loses blood circulation and then freezes. It may result in permanent damage and tissue loss. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature falls below 95°F and is a medical emergency. This happens through exposure to cool and/or damp conditions. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of frostbite or hypothermia seek medical attention immediately. Utilize the information below to help identify the signs and symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite.

Frostbite or Hypothermia?

Hypothermia

  • Shivering
  • Exhaustion
  • Confusion
  • Fumbling hands
  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness

Frostbite

  • Numbness, stinging, burning or tingling sensation
  • Redness or pain in skin may be the first sign
  • Weakness or clumsiness with hands or feet
  • Coldness or firmness of skin, with a waxy feeling
  • Pain and inflammation during the thawing process
  • White, blue or grayish-yellow skin area
  • Blisters may be filled with clear or bloody fluid

Prevention

In order to minimize your chances of getting frostbite or hypothermia be sure to dress in layers (especially hats since 30% of the body’s heat loss takes place from the head), cover exposed skin, and limit time outdoors when the temperatures are below freezing.

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