When it comes to cold burn it is difficult to imagine what is happening. This term actually indicates a lesion that is so called because it shows similarities with wounds caused by heat. The heat can also create them in a short time, however, while the cold must act for hours and hours to even go so far as to cause injury.
Cold burn: characteristics
Intuitively, we can say that there are some parts that are most affected, they are the most uncovered and subject to external temperatures and bad weather. The extremities of the limbs, for example, they can suffer burns of this type with serious consequences such as immobility and cardio-vascular alterations.
Initially, for low but not extremely low temperatures, it can be found a vasco-constriction and subsequently a vasco-paralysis, as you go down with degrees, below zero and beyond, gangrene can occur due to coagulation which, spreading, can cause secondary thrombosis.
To try to better understand the risks associated with a Cold burn we can distinguish the cases in three broad categories, in three degrees of burn: simple erythema, vesicles and eschars.
The first degree of burn, represented by a simple and circumscribed erythema of the skin, resulting from a vasomotor paralysis, can lead to skin fissures, if neglected, and also to very painful, red-purple, puriginous ulcerations. More serious is the situation if vesicles or blisters form which can open and residual ulcerations. The third degree of cold burn leads to the formation of necrosis that also affect entire segments. In this case they become tumid and bruised, they hurt and show little tenderness at the first granulation.
When cold burns are widespread, we can speak of frostbite, or a particular lowering of body temperature caused by ambient cold, especially if it is a wet cold and accompanied by wind. The characteristics of our body are also very important and influence the level of severity of the situation. For example, people who show little adipose paniculus or who suffer from hypoadrenalism and alcoholism can more easily be caught by cold burns, the same is true if cardiovascular or malnutrition problems, states of fatigue and muscle inactivity occur. What happens in these cases?
First, thanks to the thermoregulatory mechanisms, you have one peripheral vasoconstriction, which decreases the baric gradient, then progressive freezing occurs.
Cold burn: remedies
To cure a cold burn it is necessary gradually warm up the affected part but if it is the feet, for example, tetanus prophylaxis is also necessary. If the presence of partial gangrene is detected, intense chemoantibictic therapy is required, to prevent the onset of infections, when instead the gangrene is total, all that remains is to carry out the amputation.
This is what can be done, broadly speaking, but it is clear that the treatments must be identified from time to time, especially according to the severity and type of symptoms. It is clear that do-it-yourself is not appropriate and that diagnosis and advice from a doctor are needed even if the symptoms are mild: it is always better to have his opinion. Obviously, if we see that the situation is very serious, it is necessary to rush to Emergency room directly.
There are general guidelines for the first aid, we see them broadly clarifying that it is necessary to ask for the intervention of a doctor, while waiting for him, you can proceed as follows.
In case of chilblains and hypothermia we begin to move to a warmer place by walking as little as possible if the affected parts include the feet or toes, because the movement of the affected areas can make the overall picture worse.
If the affected person is wearing gods wet clothes he must take them off and put them dry, so that the heat is not further dispersed.
Furthermore, to warm the body, while waiting for help, we can use blankets but avoiding rubbing them on the affected areas. It is also not recommended to apply heat directly - fire or warmer. The goal is to try to bring the frozen areas of the body but not before having moved away from the place where the cooling took place, otherwise there is the risk of causing further damage that can also prove irreversible.
In truth the heating it should be done under medical supervision, as it can be a painful process and may require painkillers and expert medical evaluation. The Better "techniques" are those that include a hydromassage bath containing a mild antiseptic during which the affected area is immersed very slowly in only lukewarm water. The warm-up process takes about half an hour or until the affected area is seen to regain pain and mobility.
When we managed to bring the area back to temperature, we must bandage it with bandages proceeding with the utmost delicacy because the skin is still very sensitive. If it is the feet or the hands, the bandage must separate the fingers, in general maximum cleaning is necessary to avoid infections.
Once blindfolded, we avoid moving too much and we keep the limbs up if they are the affected part. Do not be frightened if the skin will appear discolored and blistered, and even covered with escaping. As for the timing, it takes at least four or five months but if the chilblains are superficial, new pink skin will form under the discolored skin and eschars.
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