Call your doctor if you suspect you have frostbite. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may be told to go to an emergency room.
If you have time before your appointment, use the information below to get ready for your medical evaluation.
What you can do
- Write down any signs and symptoms you're experiencing and for how long. It will help your doctor to have as many details as possible about your cold exposure and to know if your signs and symptoms have changed or progressed.
- Write down your key medical information, including any other conditions with which you've been diagnosed. Also write down all medications you're taking, including over-the-counter medications and supplements.
- Write down the date of your last tetanus shot. Frostbite increases risk of tetanus, so if you haven't been vaccinated or if your last shot was more than 10 years ago, your doctor may recommend that you be vaccinated.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Prepare a list of questions so that you can make the most of your time with your doctor. For frostbite, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- Are tests needed to confirm the diagnosis?
- What are my treatment options and the pros and cons for each?
- What results can I expect?
- What skin care routines do you recommend while the frostbite heals?
- What kind of follow-up, if any, should I expect?
- What changes in my skin should I look for?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions that occur to you.
Oct. 07, 2011
- Pierard GE, et al. Cold injuries. In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=2953356. Accessed Aug. 1, 2011.
- Mechem CC. Frostbite. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Aug. 1, 2011.
- Winter weather: Frostbite. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/frostbite.asp. Accessed Aug. 1, 2011.
- Frostbite. In: McPhee SJ, et al. Quick Answers to Medical Diagnosis and Therapy. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aid=3264952. Accessed Aug. 1, 2011.
- Winter weather FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/faq.asp#frostbite. Accessed Aug. 1, 2011.
- Hallam M, et al. Managing frostbite. British Medical Journal. 2010;341:1151.
- Imray C, et al. Cold damage to the extremities: Frostbite and nonfreezing cold injuries. Postgraduate Medicine Journal. 2009;85:481.