What to do with frostbite: first aid, treatment, signs, symptoms

In the winter cold and inclement seasons to protect your body from frostbite is extremely important. Any part of the body that is poorly protected from low temperatures can become a risk zone, but it is the frostbite of the ears that is dangerous because it often occurs suddenly and quickly without being accompanied by severe pain.

Frostbite of the ears

This happens due to the fact that the human ears are not equipped with large vessels, the blood circulation is low, and under the influence of cold blood supply to the skin can be severely impaired. Most people affected by frostbite of the ears, for this reason, did not notice the problem on time and did not take measures to eliminate it.

Factors worsening blood flow, provoke frostbite. These include:

  • High humidity, cold wind;
  • Limited movement, tight or soaked clothing.
  • Vascular problems, exacerbation of chronic ailments. Alcohol intoxication( poisoning).
  • Fatigue;
  • Hunger.
  • Great loss of blood.

In the photo the frostbite of the ears of different severity


Depending on the severity of the disorders, four degrees of frostbite are distinguished:

Degrees Characteristic
1 pallor, bloodlessness;
after warming up the sharp redness of the skin;
acute pain;
edema around the site of frostbite;
fever( depends on the general condition of the body);
is an inflammatory reaction.
2 necrosis of the upper layers of the skin;
after blistering, blisters are formed;
open wounds at the site of blistering blisters;
blue, lasting up to 2-3 months.
3 swelling of soft tissues, exceeding the size of the affected area;
gradual skin darkening up to black spots;
complete necrosis of the skin;
purulent inflammation.
4 irreversible lesion of all skin layers;
after warming up the affected area has a dark purple hue;
partial or complete loss of auricle.

Degrees of frostbite of the ears

Symptoms of

  • Redness of the skin areas
  • Tingling
  • Chills
  • Slowing heart rate
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

First aid

  • Warm up the ears with hands or cover from the cold with mittens.
  • As quickly as possible, deliver the victim to a warm room.
  • Inspect the damage and assess the situation as much as possible.
  • In the absence of bubbles, the ears can be slightly massaged.
  • Make a sterile heat-insulating bandage.
  • To improve blood circulation, hot tea and wool clothes help.
  • Take pain medication with caution, following the annotation( instructions attached to the drug) or by consulting a pharmacy worker.
  • People in alcoholic intoxication, in no case can not alone give painkillers tablets.

Doctor Komarovsky tells how to provide first aid in case of frostbite of the ears:

Treatment of

When frost-bitten by ears of the first degree, treatment is performed at home. For more serious stages, the presence of the patient in the hospital and the medical supervision are necessary.


  • Anesthetics( analgin, aspirin, papaverine, pentalgin, solpadein)
  • Ointments and special-purpose creams( Levomekol, d-panthenol)
  • Vasodilators
  • Antimicrobial dressings
  • Antibiotics( prescribed by doctor)
  • Hardware treatment methods( in hospital)

Folk remedies

  • Animal fats for application to damaged areas.
  • Calendula flowers mixed with a small amount of petroleum jelly. Ointment is insisted for an hour, after which it is used 3-4 times a day.
  • Lotion of chamomile( tablespoon of chamomile for a glass of boiling water)
  • Rubbing ginger and lemon juice( at the first stage of frostbite)
  • You can drink decoction from the viburnum. It will greatly facilitate healing and improve well-being.(0.5 liters of water per 15 grams of berries).
  • Washing of affected areas with fresh carrot juice.
  • Hot baths from decoction of potato peelings.

Tips for treating frostbite in our videos:

Possible complications and consequences

  • Reduced circulation of blood in the ear canals.
  • Exacerbation of chronic diseases of the hearing aid.
  • Inflammatory ear infections that can lead to serious hearing problems.
  • Long healing wounds.
  • Scars.
  • Necrosis of soft and cartilaginous tissues of the auricles.
  • Partial or complete amputation of the external part of the ear.

Practical recommendations for the prevention of

  1. Dress accordingly to the weather. In severe frosts, it is preferable to wear thermal underwear and loose outer clothing from modern membrane fabrics. This will increase the thermal insulation, without worsening the natural water exchange in the body.
  2. The headpiece should not allow blowing the ears with wind, the presence of a warm scarf will help to secure the neck and frozen parts of the face.
  3. It is advisable to wear mittens made of natural wool. They will save their hands from the cold, and heat their ears quickly if necessary.
  4. In frosty weather, skin contact with metal should be avoided. Gold, silver and other metal ornaments contribute to the supercooling of the ear lobes, and with high humidity may freeze to the skin.
  5. It is necessary to abstain from drinking alcohol. Under his influence, the vessels are narrowed, and the imaginary sensation of heat only distracts from the correct actions in case of frostbite.
  6. Smoking of tobacco and other narcotic substances depresses vascular activity.


  • With a light frostbite of the ears, a competent approach to treatment brings positive results during the first week.
  • Treatment of 2-3 degrees is aggravated by the irreversibility of accompanying disorders of the functions of the skin and cartilaginous tissue. On a positive outcome can be expected within 1-3 months and only taking into account the observance of all the recommendations of the attending physician.
  • Speaking about the last stage of frostbite, the timing of treatment in advance can not be predicted. Surgical intervention in the circumstances is inevitable. The question is already about saving a patient's life, and not about the possibility of rescuing a damaged organ.
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