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Cold Injuries and Blisters

Cold Injuries and Blisters

Blisters may form in skin that has been damaged by being exposed to cold or freezing temperatures. Examples of cold injuries that may cause blisters include:

  • Frostbite , which occurs from prolonged exposure to temperatures of 32°F (0°C) or lower.
  • Trench foot , which occurs gradually over several days of exposure to cold, but not freezing, temperatures. The name comes from World War I troops who developed symptoms after standing in cold, wet trenches.
  • Chilblains, which is a reaction to cold, nonfreezing temperatures. It is seen most often in young people who have Raynaud's syndrome and people who are exposed to damp, cold weather.

First aid for blisters caused by exposure to cold temperatures focuses on rewarming the affected areas, relieving pain, and preventing complications such as infection.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised December 10, 2012
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