Signs and Symptoms of Frostbite

Well, it seems that much of the country is in the cold at the moment. This post is to caution winter dumpster divers about frostbite. As with most things I have learned out there, I learned this the hard way. At first, I did not even think of frostbite.

About a month ago I went night diving and visited several dumpsters for aluminum and copper. The temperature was close to zero, and maybe even subzero. I do not remember how this happened, because everything should have been frozen, but for some reason my hands got wet, or, more accurately, my gloves got wet. Thinking that wet cold gloves were better than no gloves, I continued to wear my wet gloves. By the time I got home, my hands hurt, and I had difficulty opening the door to our apartment.

The next day, my hands were so red and inflamed that a store clerk commented on them. Since my hands always seem to crack and peel in the winter, I thought this condition was probably normal for me. The following morning my fingertips were swollen, white, and blistered. On eight of ten fingers, the skin had split and was oozing or bleeding. By this time I could not even turn a lamp switch.

After going through a box of dollar store band-aids and then a seven-dollar box of 3M transparent IV dressing that I cut into strips, I used some recycle money to get a box of finger cots. In all, my fingers took three weeks to a month to heal. In retrospect I should have skipped the band-aids and expensive transparent dressings and gone to finger cots first, even though they look like and roll on like condoms.

Please be aware that cold injury is possible, and read about frostbite.

Here is a link:


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