Frostbite Treatment

Can this condition be treated? What Frostbite treatment options are available? Learn more below about the current treatments available to patients.


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How to Treat Frostbite

Rapid rewarming in a warm (100?°F to 110?°F) water bath is the treatment of choice. Slow rewarming may cause more tissue damage.

If you are stranded with frostbite and unable to get medical help:

  • Try to get to a warm location. Wrap yourself in blankets.
  • Do not put snow or hot water on the injured area.
  • Do not rub affected areas.
  • Tuck your hands into your armpits to try to rewarm them.
  • If it's available, use warm water (at about 105?°F [40?°C]) to rewarm your frostbitten area.
  • Avoid refreezing the affected area. This can result in more severe injury.
  • Walking on frozen feet and toes can cause damage. It may be more important to find shelter.
  • Drink warm liquids.
  • Avoid alcohol and sedatives.
  • Cover the injured area with a clean cloth until you can get medical help.
  • Rewarming can be intensely painful. To relieve pain take:
    • Aspirin
    • Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
    • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

If you're able to get medical assistance, treatment may include moving you to a warm place and wrapping you in blankets. The injured body part may be soaked in warm (not hot) water.

Other treatments may include:

  • Opening and emptying blisters.
  • Taking antibiotics.
  • Taking pain medication.
  • Keeping the injured body part elevated above your heart.
  • Getting a tetanus booster shot.
  • Receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy. This is a special chamber under greater pressure than normal. It will help with blood flow and tissue repair.
  • Amputation of all or part of the affected body part. This may be necessary in severe frostbite cases.

If you are diagnosed with frostbite, follow your doctor's instructions.


Learn what Frostbite is
What It Is
Learn the basics of this condition. Find out what you're dealing with.
Frostbite Causes
What causes Frostbite? Learn what the medical community has uncovered.
Frostbite Risk Factors
Risk Factors
Are you at risk of getting Frostbite? Inside you'll find known risk factors for the condition.
Frostbite Diagnosis
How will your doctor diagnose you with this condition? Learn about the tests, process, and more.
Frostbite Symptoms
What are the Frostbite symptoms? Are you showing any? Learn more today.
Frostbite Complications
Can this condition lead to other health problems? Learn more about the known complications.

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Screening for Frostbite
Learn more about the specific tests or exams given by your doctor to screen for Frostbite.
Frostbite Medications
What medications offer relief or help with this condition? Are there side effects? Risks? Learn more.
Frostbite Prevention
How can you prevent Frostbite? Read what the medical community suggests for prevention methods.
Frostbite Treatment
Can this condition be treated? What Frostbite treatment options are available?
Frostbite Care
Learn more about the day to day care of this condition. Changes to your activity, diet, exercise, and more.
Frostbite Doctors
Find a Doctor
Do you need to contact a doctor about Frostbite? Select a location to find a specialist in your area.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO