How to Prevent, Spot & Treat Frostbite

10th December 2014 | Beth Cochran

Chaos Headwear - ©Luke Wigman

British solider, Luke Wigman, in a CTR Howler Peruvian hat while running the North Pole Marathon. He came in second place.

Copyright: Luke Wigman


Temperatures have dropped, snow has fallen and we’ve all begun to have fun in the cold. But what happens when the fun becomes dangerous?

Extreme exposure or direct contact with the cold can cause frostbite, damaging the skin and tissue, leading to long-term complications. You can protect yourself and your family from frostbite by learning more and taking preventative measures while outdoors this winter season.

Frostbite occurs most commonly on exposed parts of the body—face , fingers, toes and neck. The best way to prevent frostbite is to keep your body covered up with high quality, warm materials and layers. Frostbite happens when the temperature drops quickly, winds pick up and usually when you are unprepared. Wind is the most dangerous—it can be sunny out, but the winds can damage your skin long before you feel it.

7 Frostbite Symptoms to Spot

If you’ve been out in the cold and wind and think you may have frostbite, check for these seven symptoms: 

1. A slightly painful, prickly or itching sensation

2. Red, white, pale or grayish-yellow skin

3. Hard or waxy-looking skin

4. A cold or burning feeling

5. Numbness

6. Clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness

7. Blistering, in severe cases 

Bite Back

Mild to severe instances should be treated immediately by warming up the affected area; use your armpits, inside of jacket or best case—get inside and to warm water. In a basin or bowl with water between 100–105 degrees F (37.5–40.5 degrees C) slowly warm the affected area. Do not use temperatures above these, as this could burn the skin and cause blisters.

Water is better than a heating pad or fireplace, and the Mayo Clinic even suggests a pain reliever as the thawing process can hurt. If swelling occurs, wrap affected areas and call your doctor for further treatment. It is best to avoid cold temps again; this area will always be sensitive to more damage.

When to See a Doctor

Seek professional treatment in the event of:

> Signs and symptoms of superficial or severe frostbite—such as white or pale skin, loss of all sensation in the affected area or blisters

> Increased pain, swelling, redness or discharge in the area that was frostbitten

> Fever of more than 100.4 degrees F (38 degrees C)

> Dizziness, aching or feeling generally ill

> New, unexplained symptoms

The best protection is prevention and preparation. We recommend gear that covers your ears, face, head neck and hands. Chaos CTR is designed for extreme cold weather situations and offers the best in comfort and materials to protect you from frostbite.

Specifically, we suggest the following items in addition to limiting your time in cold, wearing layers and protecting yourself by being prepared when traveling in freezing temperatures. 

Chaos CTR-The Glacier Collection Expanded

A new lineup for 2014/15 is the CTR-Glacier Collection, which is meant to help close the gap between style and function. This printed and colored technical headwear helps portray fashion while keeping you warm in the backcountry. Made from 92/8 polyester/spandex with technical aspects, styles include:

The Cap

The Cap  - ©Chaos CTR

The Cap

Copyright: Chaos CTR

The Protector 

The Protector  - ©Chaos CTR

The Protector

Copyright: Chaos CTR

The Bando 

The Bando  - ©Chaos CTR

The Bando

Copyright: Chaos CTR

MTP – Multi Tasker Pro 

MTP – Multi Tasker Pro  - ©Chaos CTR

MTP – Multi Tasker Pro

Copyright: Chaos CTR

Stay warm!

Frostbite facts courtesy of the Mayo Clinic







No areas with new snowfall... Pray for snow!


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