First Aid For Frostbite In 5 Steps

Winter is almost upon us and freezing temperatures are already here.  Part of the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine is recognizing the dangers we may face and being able to address them.  One of the major dangers in cold weather is frostbite.  Knowing first aid for frostbite is an important first aid skill to know once freezing temperatures arise.

What is frostbite?

Frostbite is a medical condition that results from the freezing of the body’s tissue. It usually affects the parts of the body that are farthest from the heart and large patches of exposed skin. Frostbite is characterized by the constriction of the skin, as blood is shunted to the body’s core in an attempt to maintain body temperature. The affected tissue freezes, and ice crystals form inside the body’s cells. As the tissue thaws, symptoms range from pain and itching (1st degree) to deep tissue damage (3rd and 4th degree), which can result in the necessity to amputate or excise dead tissue. Death can occur if left untreated, so it is important to seek medical assistance and know first aid for frostbite.

Treating Frostbite In 5 Steps.

Step One
Get out of the cold. If you can not, do not start treating frostbite until you reach safety.

Step 2
Before treating frostbite, remove any jewelry, as swelling will occur as the tissue thaws.

Step 3
Submerge the affected area in body-temperature water. Change the water as it cools down. Try to keep the water at a constant temperature.

Step 4
Use body heat for treating mild cases of frostbite, if water is not available.

Step 5
Wrap damaged tissue in sterile bandages to protect the affected area from infection. Wrap affected digits (fingers and toes) in individual wrappings.

Remember in any case of frostbite, seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.

WARNING!!! When treating frostbite, DO NOT place frostbite victim near a fire or heater. If nerve damage has occurred, they may not feel tissue burning if placed too close to the flame.

First Aid To Clear Object Stuck In Throat – The Army Way

The Army does a good job of breaking down complex procedures into digestible tasks but the Army doesn’t always call things by the same name as civilians…civilians would call this the Heimlich Maneuver but the Army calls it First Aid To Clear Object Stuck In Throat.  Links have been added to facilitate further reading or research.

Task Number: 081-COM-1003
Task Title: Perform First Aid to Clear an Object Stuck in the Throat of a Conscious Casualty
Task Type: Individual
Task Data
Conditions: You see a conscious casualty who is having difficulty breathing because something is stuck in his throat. This iteration should NOT be performed in MOPP.
Standards: Clear the object from the casualty’s throat by giving abdominal or chest thrusts until the casualty can talk and breathe normally, you are relieved by a qualified person, or the casualty becomes unconscious requiring mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Safety Notes: In a training environment, leaders must perform a risk assessment in accordance with FM 5-19, Composite Risk Management. Leaders will complete a DA Form 7566 COMPOSITE RISK MANAGEMENT WORKSHEET during the planning and completion of each task and sub-task by assessing mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available-time available and civil considerations, (METT-TC). Note: During MOPP training, leaders must ensure personnel are monitored for potential heat injury. Local policies and procedures must be followed during times of increased heat category in order to avoid heat related injury. Consider the MOPP work/rest cycles and water replacement guidelines IAW FM 3-11.4, NBC Protection, FM 3-11.5, CBRN Decontamination.
Environment: Environmental protection is not just the law but the right thing to do. It is a continual process and starts with deliberate planning. Always be alert to ways to protect our environment during training and missions. In doing so, you will contribute to the sustainment of our training resources while protecting people and the environment from harmful effects. Refer to FM 3-34.5 Environmental Considerations and GTA 05-08-002 ENVIRONMENTAL-RELATED RISK ASSESSMENT.
1Determine if the casualty needs help.
aIf the casualty has a mild airway obstruction (able to speak or cough forcefully, may be wheezing between coughs), do not interfere except to encourage the casualty to cough.
bIf the casualty has a severe airway obstruction (poor air exchange and increased breathing difficulty, a silent cough, cyanosis, or inability to speak or breathe), continue with step 2. 
NOTE: You can ask the casualty one question, “Are you choking?” If the casualty nods yes, help is needed.
CAUTION: Do not slap a choking casualty on the back. This may cause the object to go down the airway instead of out.
2Perform abdominal or chest thrusts.
NOTE: Abdominal thrusts should be used unless the victim is in the advanced stages of pregnancy, is very obese, or has a significant abdominal wound.
Note: Clearing a conscious casualty’s airway obstruction can be performed with the casualty either standing or sitting.
aAbdominal thrusts.
(1Stand behind the casualty.
(2Wrap your arms around the casualty’s waist.
(3Make a fist with one hand.
(4Place the thumb side of the fist against the abdomen slightly above the navel and well below the tip of the breastbone.
(5Grasp the fist with the other hand.
(6Give quick backward and upward thrusts.
NOTE: Each thrust should be a separate, distinct movement. Thrusts should be continued until the obstruction is expelled or the casualty becomes unconscious.
bChest thrusts.
(1Stand behind the casualty.
(2Wrap your arms under the casualty’s armpits and around the chest.
(3Make a fist with one hand.
(4Place the thumb side of the fist on the middle of the breastbone.
(5Grasp the fist with the other hand.
(6Give backward thrusts.
NOTE: Each thrust should be performed slowly and distinctly with the intent of relieving the obstruction.
3Continue to give abdominal or chest thrusts, as required. Give abdominal or chest thrusts until the obstruction is clear, you are relieved by a qualified person, or the casualty becomes unconscious.
NOTE: If the casualty becomes unconscious, lay him down and then start mouth-to-mouth resuscitation procedures.
4If the obstruction is cleared, watch the casualty closely and check for other injuries, if necessary.

Treating Nosebleeds The Army Way

Today we present a short excerpt from the U.S. Army Medical Department Center & School’s Subcourse MD 0547 Edition 100, Eye, Ear and Nose Injuries.  This is the procedure that the Army trains its medical specialists to use in treating epistaxis, AKA nosebleeds.  Read on and learn the causes of nosebleeeds and how to treat nosebleeds the Army way.  Make sure to seek medical attention if the bleeding persists.

Treat A Patient With Epistaxis (Nosebleed) (more…)


 Andrew’s Note:  Like much of the nation we’ve been experiencing a cold snap recently so today’s survival lesson is an extract from FM 21-76-1, the U.S. Army manual on Survival, Evasion & Recovery June 1999, Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.  This extract deals with Treating Hypothermia until you can get the victim to proper medical care.  Stay warm!

Hypothermia (more…)

The Most Important Item In Your First Aid Kit

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present an article on The Most Important Item In Your First Aid Kit by guest author, Frank Nielson.

In the event of an injury, natural disaster or more serious type emergency one of the basic staples of your gear will be your first aid kit. With such a wide variety of choices available from small first aid pouches for your car to expedition sized kits the size of backpacks deciding on the best first aid kit can be overwhelming.  In too many cases, the decision defaults to two just two factors, the size of the first aid kit and the price of the first aid kit.  Don’t forget that the most important tool in your first aid kit is the one between your ears along with the skills you impart to your body through training and practice. (more…)

QuikClot Saves Lives

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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Andrew’s Note:  Today we present another lesson from our periodic Military Pedagogy series.  This discussion, from TC 21-3, the Soldier’s Handbook for Individual Operations and Survival in Cold Weather Areas [Approved For Public Release; Distribution is Unlimited] is on Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  As our homes and offices become better insulated and sealed we increase the chances of serious injury or death resulting from carbon monoxide poisoning.  This lesson was written for soldiers living and working in tents and vehicles but applies to permanent shelters as well.  Learn the symptoms, learn the treatment and for heavens sake, learn the prevention of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning  (more…)

Ultimate Emergency Medical List – Infographic from The Survival Doctor

Survival Doctor Infographic

Top 10 Preparedness Uses of Garbage Bags

Today Prepography is pleased to present garbage… garbage bags that is…as in the top 10 preparedness uses of garbage bags.  Garbage bags can be used by preppers for dozens of purposes besides rubbish disposal.  I like the heavy duty, Contractor Grade Garbage Bags because they’re larger and more durable than the typical kitchen variety.  In the Jackson household often buy our heavy duty garbage bags through school fundraisers but they’re also available from the big box and local hardware stores as well as online.

Top 10 Preparedness Uses of Trash Bags: (more…)

Gunshot First Aid Kit Infographic

Medical Kit Must Haves

21 Medical Kit Must Haves’ Brought To You

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