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A variety of frostbite classification systems have been proposed. The easiest to understand, and perhaps the one that gives the best clues to outcome, divides frostbite into two main categories: 1) superficial and 2) deep.
There are milder conditions related to frostbite, including frostnip, chilblains, and trench foot.
When to Seek Medical Care for Frostbite
Seek medical care if you think you, or someone you know has frostbite. A health-care professional must be able to see and feel the affected area. A telephone call is not sufficient with the exception of the mildest cases of cold injury to the hands or feet. The person who has or may have frostbite needs to be evaluated by a medical professional for care.
At the time of initial evaluation, it is very difficult to categorize the injury as superficial or deep, and even more difficult to ascertain the amount of tissue damage. Therefore, all people should be seen by a health care practitioner who will supervise the rewarming process, attempt to classify the injury, and further guide the treatment process. Someone with frostbite will need evaluation, and possible treatment for hypothermia and dehydration.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/2/2016
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