Most cold injuries appear en masse during periods of intense combat and
at the time that large numbers of other casualties occur.
The examination and treatment of life-endangering wounds must take
precedence over cold injuries.
Highly individualized treatment is difficult during military operations
because of the large numbers of casualties who require treatment almost
b. Treatment for Types of Cold Injuries. The treatment of cold injury is
divided into first aid, emergency medical treatment in forward areas, and definitive
treatment after the patient has reached a hospital. Since the latter two stages of
treatment are conducted only by qualified medical personnel, we shall discuss only first
aid at this point. If possible, prevent further exposure to cold or at least shelter the
casualty from wind.
c. Chilblain. Treatment for chilblain consists mainly of re-warming the affected
body part and preventing infection if open sores are present.
(1) Re-warm the body part.
Re-warm an affected ear, nose, or facial area by covering the areas
with a hand until the part is warm again. Usually, the casualty can perform this re-
Re-warm affected areas on the hands (usually fingertips) by opening
the casualty's field jacket, having the casualty put his hands under his armpits (right
hand under left armpit, etc.), and closing his clothing so as to prevent additional loss of
Re-warm toes and other affected areas on the casualty's feet by
removing his boots and socks, placing his feet against the abdomen of another person
(either you or a fellow soldier), and covering the casualty's feet with clothing. The
person warming the casualty's feet must take measures to ensure that he does not
develop cold injuries himself.
(2) Protect lesions. If skin lesions (open sores) have developed, cover the
lesions with a dry sterile dressing. Do not apply any ointment to the lesion since the
moisture in the ointment may cause additional cold injury.
(3) Seek medical help. Chilblain usually does not require evacuation since
there will be little or no loss of skin tissue. The casualty should be seen by medical
personnel, though, when the opportunity presents itself.