b. Patients describe the affected part as bulky or "clublike," implying numbness.
The patient may also report that the part was very painful before it became numb. If the
person was preoccupied at the time of freezing, he may not have felt any change until
there was no feeling. If thawing has already occurred at the time the patient is seen, he
may report that as the area warmed, he felt throbbing, burning pain similar to a "pins
and needles" sensation.
c. Blisters may not appear for a day or two after thawing, or they may appear
rapidly after thawing.
5-10. FROSTBITE MANAGEMENT/TREATMENT
The basic management for frostbite is the same in principle for both superficial
and deep frostbite, but the location of the treating (field, hospital) may put limits on what
can be done. Management/ treatment should proceed as follows:
a. Obtain a careful history of the nature and length of time of exposure including
the temperature, wind velocity, and clothing worn.
b. Examine the patient for other injuries such as fractures or dislocations.
c. Initiate appropriate treatment before frostbite therapy, if indicated.
d. Rewarm affected face, ears, cheeks, fingers, and toes with the body heat of
one's own body or another person's body (abdomen, armpit, or groin).
e. Victims must be relieved of their duties long enough to rewarm in a warming
f. The patient should be given warm drinks such as juice and warm gelatin. If
possible, avoid all caffeine-containing liquids such as coffee, teas, and chocolate.
g. Smoking is prohibited.
h. Evacuate obviously deep frostbitten persons immediately. If this is not
tactically possible, it is better to leave the area frozen than to allow refreezing after
i. DO NOT massage, rub, pack with ice or snow, cover with ointments, bandage
lightly, warm with uncontrolled heat sources such as open fires or engine exhausts any
j. Carefully remove any clothing covering affected areas so as not to inflict
further tissue damage. If the person is wearing gloves, boots, or socks that have been
frozen on, proceed with rewarming and remove the clothing when it can be done without