With the deep freeze we just experienced, your fingers, toes, nose and other body parts probably felt it more than others.  We sometimes neglect to make sure that we wear the proper clothing and footwear to keep ourselves safe.  Frostbite can happen even if you’re just out for a few minutes during extreme cold temperatures.

Frostbite can occur in just 5 minutes.  If you start to feel exposed skin get sore or see it get red, this is frost nip and it is the start of frostbite.  Cover up and get somewhere warm immediately.

Symptoms of frostbite can include:

  • Skin turns a pale yellow or white.
  • It may itch, sting, burn, or feel like “pins and needles.”
  • Skin looks shiny or waxy.
  • When the skin thaws, blisters filled with fluid or blood form.
  • In untreated cases, skin darkens quickly – it may look blue and later turn black.
  • Blisters will restrict the circulation and gangrene may set in.

Frostbite is extremely serious and must be treated.  Of course, the best treatment is prevention: dress for the weather!


  • Wear a hat that covers your head and ears. Wear wool or fleece.
  • Wear insulating mittens or gloves.
  • Layer wool socks over resist moisture socks.
  • Be sure boots are warm and waterproof and they cover your ankles.
  • Keep clothing dry – moisture makes you more likely to get frostbite. Make sure snow can’t sneak inside your winter outfits!


If you think you have frostbite, get to a warm place. Don’t rub your skin. That can damage it if it’s frozen.  Watch for the symptoms and seek medical .





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