Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia

Timely and considerate care of the arterial and venous systems.


With the cold temperatures hitting our area, it is important to keep yourself warm to prevent a frostbite.

A frostbite is an injury or damage to the skin and possibly the tissue beneath it because of exposure to cold temperatures.

It can occur in any part of the body, but the most common in exposed areas such as the fingers, toes, nose, ears, and cheeks.

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Cold skin with the feeling of pins and needles.
  • Numbness
  • Skin color changes
  • Skin becomes hard
  • Extreme pain in affected areas as they thaw
  • Blisters
  • Gangrene

When to seek medical help?

According to the Mayo Clinic:

 Seek medical attention for frostbite if you experience:

  • Signs and symptoms of superficial or deep frostbite — such as white or pale skin, numbness, or blisters
  • Increased pain, swelling, redness or discharge in the area that was frostbitten
  • Fever
  • New, unexplained symptoms

Get emergency medical help if you suspect hypothermia, a condition in which your body loses heat faster than it can be produced. Signs and symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Intense shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness and loss of coordination

What Not To Do

According to MedlinePlus of the NIH:

  • Do NOT thaw out a frostbitten area if it cannot be kept thawed. Refreezing may make tissue damage even worse.
  • Do NOT use direct dry heat (such as a radiator, campfire, heating pad, or hair dryer) to thaw the frostbitten areas. Direct heat can burn the tissues that are already damaged.
  • Do NOT rub or massage the affected area.
  • Do NOT disturb blisters on frostbitten skin.
  • Do NOT smoke or drink alcoholic beverages during recovery as both can interfere with blood circulation.

For additional important information, please visit the following links:


Note: This blog post is intended for information only.  It is not meant to replace a professional medical opinion.  If you are suspecting any medical problems, please seek professional medical attention.  If you are having an emergency, please call 911.

Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia, P.C.
Vascular Laboratory

Our Vascular Surgeons:
Robert S. Podolsky, M.D.
Avisesh Sahgal, M.



This entry was posted on January 21, 2016 by in Other Health Information, Vascular Information.
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