Frostbites are rather painful and quite unpleasant and sore changes on the skin and the tissue below the skin caused by low temperatures. If not complicated frostbites may be treated at home.
Everyone has at least once experienced frostbites and knows how painful they are. The initial lack of sensation which is then replaced with sensations like numbness and tingling is not something anyone would experience again. The parts of the body that are affected are the fingers, the nose and ears. All of these are "peripheral" organs and in low temperatures they are the least supplied with the blood. Additional Vasoconstriction leads to poorer circulation and finally leads to necrosis. In case of a frostbite and impossibility to contact a doctor one should start with frostbite treatment at home to save precious time.
In case of severe weather conditions and extremely cold temperatures one should look for a shelter. Further walking or even hitting of the frost bitten fingers/ toes may be additionally harmful. Also if there is need for person to continue then it is better not to defrost the frostbites but to go while they are still present as refreezing may be much harmful to the skin and the tissue bellow.
Unlike the general belief that frostbites need to be rubbed the very truth is that this action can only do more harm than it can help. Rubbing the affected area leads to further damage. The area should not be under any pressure as this may only reduce the circulation more. All the clothes have to be removed from the frostbite area. After the warming cotton bandage or cotton clothes may be used to cover the area. These are not to be tightened.
In case there is warm water present the area with frostbite must be quickly dipped into the water. Additionally in case of no water and the presence of another human being or even animal holding tight can be quite efficient in raising the temperature.
Direct fire (e.g. from a fire place) is not good for frostbites. The heat is strong and since there are no sensations in the area of frostbite the person may even experience burns.
Drinking the hot water especially if it contains sugar may be beneficial. This is because extra water increases the blood's volume and this leads to better supply of the frost bitten area. In case of severe pain painkillers may be taken. Alcohol drinks must not be consumed as they tend to constrict the blood vessels hence to reduce the blood flow of the frost bitten area. Alcohol drinks as well as cigarettes and drinks rich in caffeine prevent the body to shiver which is the natural way of staying warm. Therefore these are to be avoided as well.