Winter cold and snow provide a number of opportunities to get outside and participate in activities such as skiing, sledding, and playing. However, without proper protection, cold weather-related injuries can occur even when temperatures are above freezing (32 F, 0 C).

This is especially true if there are high winds or if clothing is wet. In general, however, it is both the temperature and the duration of exposure that play a role in determining the extent and severity of cold weather-related injuries.

While outside in the cold, keep this in mind:

  • Cold weather-related injuries occur with and without freezing of body tissues.
  • Signs and symptoms may include : The areas of the body affected by frostbite feel cold and firm. Burning, tingling, stinging, or numbing sensation
  • Treatment generally includes moving out of the cold environment, removing wet clothing, and rewarming the affected area.
  • Frostbite is a serious cold weather-related injury that requires immediate medical attention and rapid rewarming. Do not thaw the affected area if there is the risk of refreezing.
  • Prevention of cold weather-related injuries is best accomplished through proper planning and preparation for cold weather.