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Cold Hands and Feet (cont.)

Prognosis

  • Severely frostbitten areas may require amputation. Frostbitten areas that recover are prone to excessive sweating, pain, coldness, numbness, changes in skin color, and stiffness. Frostbite in children may lead to growth abnormalities of the affected part.
  • Frostnipped areas recover without any difficulties, except that they may be sensitive to the cold for months or years.
  • Areas with immersion injury may also require amputation. Affected areas remain sensitive to cold for years and may have all the problems associated with frostbite.
  • Areas of pernio usually recover within two weeks. Sometimes the rash may last longer. The skin may darken permanently. Pernio may come back if you are exposed to cold again.
  • Raynaud's phenomenon tends to be intermittent. It can usually be handled if you avoid exposure to cold, but medication may be of benefit for those who are unable to avoid cold temperatures.
  • People with cryoglobulins may have minor symptoms such as cold intolerance and finger discoloration to severe, life-threatening symptoms such as kidney failure or stroke. Cryoglobulins are not common.
  • Cold urticaria can usually be controlled by avoidance of cold but sometimes requires medication.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2013

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