The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently offered guidelines to help recognize and treat frostbite.

Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing that can permanently damage the body and, in severe cases, lead to amputation. It most often affects the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes.

Get out of the cold or protect any exposed skin at the first signs of redness or pain in any skin area, as frostbite might be starting. Potential signs include a white or grayish-yellow skin area, skin that feels unusually firm or waxy and/or numbness.

Seek medical care as soon as frostbite is detected. If immediate care is not available, get into a warm room as soon as possible.

Don’t rub the frostbitten area with snow or massage it. Do not walk on frostbitten feet or toes unless absolutely necessary. Immerse the affected area in warm, not hot, water. Do not use a heating pad, heat lamp or the heat of a stove, fireplace or radiator for warming.

Preventative action is the best defense against having to deal with extreme cold weather conditions.

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