What is included in the postrewarming treatment of frostbite?

Updated: Jul 29, 2019
  • Author: Bobak Zonnoor , MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Answer

Once the skin is thawed, protect the area from further injury and reexposure to cold. Elevate the area and splint the extremity. Sterile, nonadherent dressings should be applied.  They should be changed  2-4 times a day and local wound care performed. The injured area should be closely monitored for signs of infection.

Management of blisters is somewhat controversial. Aspiration or debridement of clear blisters to prevent thromboxane- and prostaglandin-mediated tissue damage may make theoretical sense, especially if overlying a joint. In order to avoid desiccation and infection of underlying deep layers, hemorrhagic blisters should not be debrided. However, if they interfere with movement, hemorrhagic blisters may be aspirated. Fractures and dislocations should be managed conservatively until thawing is complete.


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