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- A localized complication of exposure to cold, causing tissue to freeze, resulting in diminished blood flow to the affected part (especially hands, face, or feet)
- System(s) affected: Endocrine/Metabolic; Skin/Exocrine
- Synonym(s): Dermatitis congelationis; Frostnip; Environmental injuries
- Predominant age: All ages
- Predominant sex: Male = Female
- Previous cold-related injury
- Decreased caloric intake (<1,500 calories/d)
- Dehydration or hypovolemia
- Impaired cerebral function
- Under the effects of alcohol or drug abuse
- Underlying psychiatric disturbance
- Ambient temperature ≤–17.8°C (0°F)
- Lean body mass
- Low level of fitness
- Lack of proper clothing or shelter
- Raynaud phenomenon
- Peripheral vascular disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Constriction from excessively tight clothing (including too many layers of socks)
- Vehicular failure leading to prolonged cold exposure
- Dress in layers with appropriate cold-weather gear.
- Avoid clothing (including footwear) that is too constricting.
- Cover exposed areas and extremities appropriately.
- Prepare properly for trips to cold climates.
- Minimize wind exposure.
- Stay dry.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Ensure adequate hydration and caloric intake.
- Supplemental oxygen at very high altitudes (>7,500 m).
- Ice crystals form intracellularly.
- Vasoconstriction reduces blood flow and microclotting leads to ischemia.
- Dehydration, enzymatic destruction, and ultimately cell death occur.
- In severe cases, deep-tissue freezing may occur with damage to underlying blood vessels, muscles, and nerve tissue.
- Prolonged exposure to cold
- Refreezing thawed extremities
Commonly Associated Conditions
Alcohol and/or drug abuse