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Know About Frost-Bite & Treatment

Discussion in 'Other Camping' started by 2sweed, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. 2sweed

    2sweed Natural Camper Staff Member

    Most of us go camping in the summer and never think about the hazards of winter camping. However, if you travel or live in the upper northern United States or Canada, or other countries where cold weather can mean life or death, depending on your actions this topic may be of interest to you.

    Frostbite is the freezing of some part of your body. The first sensation of frostbite is numbness, instead of pain. The skin area will be grayish or yellow-whitish, and this often happens before you notice it. If your with someone else get in the habit of watching each other for visible signs of frostbite, or if your alone keep feeling your face and ears for stiffness.

    If the freezing is only minor and local, a cupped warm hand will thaw it out, otherwise try to get into a heated shelter as quickly as possible. When only the surface skin is frozen and becomes spongy to the touch, it can be rewarmed by body heat. If the toes and feet are superficially frozen and you have a friend along use that persons warm abdomen to thaw them out. If the frostbite is deeper kill an animal and open it up and thrust your feet into the hot interior.

    If deeper tissues are involved the thawing process must take place quickly. Because the refreezing of a thawed part means the certain loss of tissue, and when this is the case it is better to continue with a frozen part for a reasonable length of time rather then to thaw it and end up having it refreeze again. However, in any event thawing needs to be done as quickly as possible.

    Warm the frozen parts rapidly. Frozen members should be thawed in warm water that is between 105 degrees and 110 degrees. If warm water is not available, wrap the frozen part in blankets or clothing, or apply heat packs or even stones warmed in a fire. Thawed extremities should be immobilized. Use body heat whenever possible to aid in thawing. Hold a bare, warm palm against frozen ears or parts of the face. Grasp a frostbitten wrist with the other warm, bare hand. Hold frostbitten fingers against your chest or under your armpits, or between your legs close to groin.

    When frostbite is accompanied by breaks in the skin, apply sterile dressing. Do not use strong antiseptics such as tincture of iodine or powdered sulfa drugs in the wound.

    Never forcibly remove frozen shoes or mittens. Place in lukewarm water or thaw in front of a campfire, and then take them off gently. Also never rub frostbite. You could tear frozen tissues and cause additional damage. Also never use any old fashioned custom of applying snow or ice, in very cold weather. The effect would be the same as scrubbing a warm cheek with sand and gravel. And never ever make the terrible mistake of trying to thaw the frozen parts in cold gasoline, oil, or alcohol at subzero temperatures just because they are liquid. The object is to try and save your skin or limbs not destroy them.

    Please feel free to add to this or offer your opinions on the subject. If you ever had any frostbite please share your experiences here.
    campforums likes this.
  2. jc banks

    jc banks Novice Camper

    That's all good advice, and could help someone save a foot or hand.Though its best not to be in the cold that long, We snow mobile and every one carry a fanny pack with a lighter, water proof matches and other survival items, such as poncho, emergency tent and fire starter and a roll of twine. Knife and a p 38, don’t sound like much but could keep you warm and safe over night till your found.
  3. Pretorius Bernadis

    Pretorius Bernadis Novice Camper

    We don't really have snow in South Africa, only certain high-lying places. So far I've only read about fostbite in some suspense books. All we have to worry about here is mosquitoes and snakes.
  4. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    @Pretorius Bernadis frostbite is a serious condition that one needs to be very much aware of especially camping in the winter (like I do). The tissue/flesh can be so frozen - like toes for example - and may need to be removed. But I bet there are other issues that you would be facing that we wouldn't. Hope you might share some details of those. ;)

    upload_2016-4-17_22-26-38.jpeg upload_2016-4-17_22-27-54.jpeg Ugly stuff!:eek:
  5. Pretorius Bernadis

    Pretorius Bernadis Novice Camper

    Wow, I mean that really looks ugly...and painful. I guess you can even loose some of your limbs as a result of frostbite. Dehidration and sunstroke can be a problem in our neck of the woods. You see the sun can get pretty hot down here, even though there's not a desert for thousand of miles around. Always see that you have enough water and keep out of too much sun, especially when temperatures start soaring.
  6. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    ...so what would be the average temperature? What might it climb to?
  7. Pretorius Bernadis

    Pretorius Bernadis Novice Camper

    We measure our temperature in degrees Celsius. Water boils at 100 ...around here it can easily climb into the high 30's...that's leaving you sweating all over, or putting on 2 straw hats or even hiding under the bed....unless you're a desert Bedouin or something of sorts of course.
  8. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    ...Canada is on the metric system too. In Ontario (at least my neck of the woods) temperatures vary in the summer. I have seen it as high as 32C and last June the temp dropped to 3C while I was out canoe/camping. Admittedly I wasn't expecting that.
  9. Pretorius Bernadis

    Pretorius Bernadis Novice Camper

    We have places that reach 40, but I don't go there. I'm not a guy for hot weather even though I love summer. I'm happy with an average of around 25.
  10. Northern Dancer

    Northern Dancer Survivalist

    ...a great temperature for warming up the water for swimming. We have an incredibly vast country and our weather temperatures go from the sublime to the ridiculous. It all depends on what region you live in.


    Sherborne Lake - one of my canoe haunts and a great place to swim. Not to worry about frost-bite here BUT...if you get cold enough you could suffer from hypothermia.
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