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Cold Stress

Trench foot is an injury resulting from prolonged exposure of the feet to wet & cold conditions. Typically, the foot begins to feel tingly or itchy, then numb and swollen. The skin will become red and blotchy before blisters begin to form. If untreated, the foot can become gangrene.
First Aid:
  • Remove shoes/boots and wet socks.
  • Dry feet.
  • Avoid walking on feet, as this may cause tissue damage.
Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing; typically involving the face, fingers, or toes. The skin becomes numb and cold, with an aching and tingling/stinging sensation.  Frostbite causes the skin to become pale or blue, eventually developing blisters or turning black if untreated.
First Aid:
  • Get into a warm room as soon as possible.
  • Unless necessary, do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes.
  • Immerse the affected area in warm (not hot) water, or warm the affected area using body heat. Do not use a heating pad, fireplace, or radiator for warming.
  • Do not massage the frostbitten area; doing so may cause more damage
Hypothermia occurs when the body’s temperature drops below 95°F. Early symptoms include shivering, fatigue, loss of coordination, confusion, and disorientation. Untreated, the body’s temperature will continue to fall.  Severe hypothermia occurs once body temperature falls below 90°F. The individual will stop shivering as their pulse and breathing slow. Their skin will turn blue, pupils will dilate, and eventually they will lose consciousness.
First Aid:
  • Request immediate medical assistance.
  • Move the victim into a warm room or shelter.
  • Remove wet clothing.
  • Warm the center of their body first—chest, neck, head, and groin—using an electric blanket; or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, or towels.
  • If conscious, warm beverages may help increase the body temperature. Do not give alcohol.
  • Once temperature has increased keep them dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.