Frostbite is damage to layers of skin from contact with freezing temperatures or frozen snow or ice. It can happen in as little as 5 minutes in sub-zero temps, but that’s not very likely here in Berkeley. It is a distinct possibility though if you enjoy skiing and climbing in California’s higher elevations. There is always the possibility of freak accidents, too, like getting locked in a cooler or touching frozen metal with wet hands.
If you go to an area that has temps below freezing, be sure to dress properly—especially with warm socks and waterproof footwear—to protect your extremities. If for some reason you get frostbitten toes, remove wet footwear and socks and cover with thick socks or blankets, or immerse them in lukewarm water, and let them thaw slowly.
It is important to get medical attention as soon as possible to make sure there won’t be permanent skin damage or to ward off infection. Contact Yuko Miyazaki, DPM at our office in Berkeley, CA for treatment of frostbite. You can reach us by phone at (510) 647-3744 or schedule your visit using our online contact page.