Frostbite isn’t a common condition, but it does happen. According to the Journal of Burn Care & Research, about 0.83 out of every 100,000 people experience frostbite a year in the U.S.
It’s also one of those conditions you might not realize you have right away since it makes the area that endured the frostbite go completely numb. It’s most common in areas further away from the heart, like the fingers, toes, nose, and ears. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states this is because when the body gets too cold, it shifts blood toward your core and away from your extremities.
Frostbite happens when your body is exposed to extreme cold or windy conditions. And it can happen in as little as five minutes, states WebMD. It also has different stages depending on the severity. Early stages cause numbness, burning, and yellow or white skin, while the advanced stage includes skin that eventually turns black.
It’s essential to get treatment immediately to avoid damage to the nerves of the foot. So, get indoors as soon as possible to get your body warm. You’ll also want to sit down, keep pressure off your injured feet, and make sure the feet are dry. NHS advises that gently rewarming the feet by putting them in a warm bath is vital. Rewarming needs to be repeated daily until the damage has healed. Severe cases require medical intervention to improve blood flow.