During the onset phase, the affected skin may show redness, itching and a burning sensation. In the second phase, the affected area becomes pale and cold, and may lose its sensitivity. Finally, in the constituted lesion phase, the affected tissues may suffer permanent damage, resulting in necrosis and ulcers.

It is important to treat frostbite promptly to avoid worsening of symptoms. Treatment may include warming the affected area, but avoiding direct heat sources such as radiators or hot baths. Painkillers may also be given to relieve pain. In severe cases, medical intervention may be necessary to prevent further complications, such as infection or amputation.

Frostbite is an injury caused by exposure to cold and can cause superficial or deep tissue damage, sometimes requiring medical intervention. It is important to recognize the symptoms and treat frostbite promptly to avoid serious complications.


Definition and Meaning

Frostbite is a skin injury caused by prolonged exposure to cold, usually at temperatures below 0°C. It can affect the skin, muscles and bones and manifests itself with symptoms such as redness, itching, pain and loss of feeling. Frostbite can be superficial or deep and may require medical treatment if there is significant tissue damage.


Frostbite is caused by prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures, which causes ice crystals to form in the extra- and intra-cellular media, contributing to cell destruction. The damage is caused by ischemia (decreased blood supply to the tissues) secondary to severe vasoconstriction (decrease in blood vessel diameter). The cells of the capillary wall (endothelium) may be affected, allowing the passage of water from the blood vessel to the extracellular environment, explaining the formation of edema. The endothelial lesion favors the appearance of thrombus (blood clot), worsening the ischemia.


Frostbite comes in three degrees, each with different symptoms:

  • First degree frostbite: numbness of the extremities, loss of sensitivity, cyanotic skin.
  • Second degree frostbite: Increasingly severe pain, phlyctenes (lifting of the skin, blisters), edema.
  • Third degree chilblain: the onset of symptoms is spread over a longer period (several weeks) with loss of sensitivity, and in the most serious cases, necrosis that may require amputation of the affected areas.

Its treatment

The treatment of frostbite depends on the degree of the injury.

  • For first-degree frostbite, it is recommended to gradually warm the affected areas and cover them with sterile dressings.
  • For second- and third-degree frostbite, it is important to see a doctor quickly.
  • Second-degree frostbite may require medical attention to prevent infection.
  • Third degree frostbite may require surgery to remove the injured tissue.

It is important to note that frostbite can be prevented by protecting yourself from extreme weather conditions by wearing warm clothing, protecting exposed extremities and warming up regularly. It is also important to watch for signs of hypothermia, which can be associated with frostbite and can lead to serious consequences if not treated quickly.

Bottom line

Frostbite is a burn caused by prolonged exposure to extremely cold temperatures. Symptoms vary depending on the degree of injury and can range from numbness and loss of feeling to necrosis and amputation. It is important to protect yourself from extreme weather conditions, watch for signs of hypothermia, and seek prompt medical attention if injuries occur. Frostbite can be prevented and effectively treated if detected and treated early. Therefore, it is important to remain vigilant and take the necessary steps to protect yourself from frostbite.