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The Wilderness Survivor, Issue #029 - Preventing frostbite
March 05, 2007
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Table of contents

- Editor's Notes
- Have you heard about RSS feed?
- Preventing frostbite
- Content has been updated

Editor's Notes

Hello ,

I hope all is going well with you. For some of us it's still cold winter weather. Travel in the wilderness during a cold sunny winter day is a great experience. Of course you have to take some precaution because of the cold. Preventing frostbite is one. Continue to read this issue and get some tips on how to prevent frostbite.

Enjoy your reading!

Have a safe and fun wilderness trip - Respect and protect the wilderness!

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Preventing frostbite

Frostbite is a dangerous threat to a survivor in cold winter weather because it can give permanent injuries. Not to mention the pain and fear Ö The nose, cheeks, ears, fingers and toes are most commonly affected.


The skin initially appears red then turns white, cold and hard. You may experience burning, tingling and itching sensations, partial or complete numbness in the affected areas. A loss of feeling in your hands and feet is a typical sign of frostbite. If left untreated, frostbitten skin gradually darkens and will be completely black.

Regular check for frostbite

If you are with others, check each others face. Periodically warm your face and ears with your hands. Make faces Ė it will maintain circulation. Wiggle and move your ears.

Warm your hands by moving them inside your gloves. If not enough, place your hands under your armpits.

Move your feet and wiggle your toes inside your boots. Ask your companion for help - place your feet next to his/hers stomach. The best prevention is to keep your feet dry. If you carry extra socks, put them on.

Seek Medical Care

If you have frostbite you need immediate emergency medical attention. A medical doctor must be able to see and classify the injury and further guide the treatment process. Do whatever you can to get to a medical facility as soon as possible

What to Do if risk of frostbite

- Find shelter and warmth to prevent further heat loss. Be carefully with a fire. If frostbite you have a loss of feeling. Donít get a burn.

- If possibly get warm fluids to drink.

What NOT to do

-Donít rub injury with snow (or anything else, for that matter). Rubbing will only cause further tissue damage.

-Donít try to thaw frostbite if it is at risk for refreezing. This thaw-refreeze cycle is very harmful and leads to disastrous results. It is better to delay warming. For example, keep walking to a permanent shelter rather than warm frozen toes at a temporary shelter and then expose them to more cold on the rest of the trip.


Keep safety in mind when traveling in cold weather. Wear proper clothing.

Help others

Share your experiences and survival tips. Submit them here!

Content has been updated

New more good content have been added or updated to the Wilderness Survival Skills website the last month. Check the Wilderness Survival Blog

He who enjoys doing and enjoys what he has done is happy.

- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Written by Erik C. Falk

(c) copyright 2006

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