1. Redness of the skin, along with pain and a stinging sensation.
2. Numbness sets in.
3. Tissue itself begins to freeze.
As soon as any frostbite symptom occurs, seek medical attention immediately. If you do develop frostbite, here are some steps you can take:
- Slowly warm the affected areas. Get out of the cold, drink something hot, and slowly warm the affected areas with warm, not hot, water. Do not rub the frostbitten skin.
- If blisters form, do not break them. In this state, the skin will probably appear gray or white, and the need for medical assistance is immediate.
- The sooner the better. The sooner the warming process occurs, the less chance of permanent damage being done. If you see beginning stages of frostbite, get out of the cold as fast as possible.
- Dress in layers. Layers of lighter clothing tend to keep you warmer that one heavy layer. This way you can shed layers as needed. Remember wool is the only fabric that keeps you warm when it's wet.
- Cover your head and hands. A large amount of body heat is lost through the head and hands. Wearing a warm hat and gloves will help prevent this heat loss, and your body will stay warmer.
- Eat something healthy and stay active. Digesting food and keeping your body in motion will create internal body heat. Keep moving, but not so much that you become overly tired. Fatigue reduces the body's ability to generate heat.