Cold Related Injuries


Damage to body tissue caused by that tissue being frozen. Warning signs include loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities, such as fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected, get medical help immediately! If you must wait for help, slowly re-warm affected areas. If the person is also showing signs of hypothermia, warm the body core before the extremities.


Low body temperature. Warning signs include:

  • Apparent exhaustion
  • Drowsiness
  • Disorientation
  • Incoherence
  • Memory loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Uncontrollable shivering

If a person's body temperature is below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, immediately seek medical attention.

If Medical Care Is Not Available

  • Begin warming the person slowly; warm the body core first. If needed, use your own body heat to help.
  • Get the person into dry clothing and wrap them in a warm blanket covering them completely, including the head and neck.
  • Do not give the person alcohol, drugs, coffee, or any hot beverage or food; warm broth is better.
  • Do not warm extremities (arms and legs) first! This drives the cold blood toward the heart and can lead to heart failure.

Heart Attack

Strain from the cold and hard labor may cause a heart attack. Avoid overexertion, such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car, or walking in deep snows, especially if you are not in peak physical condition. If you must shovel snow, take it slow and lift small amounts, especially when removing heavy snow, slush, or ice.