Cold toes and fingers are a serious matter.
Everybody has proclaimed: “My hands are freezing.” Likewise has been the situation with toes, and ears as well when earmuffs or scarf are forgotten. Those statements have been especially true in recent weeks of blizzard conditions. Generally, the comment though is not a reality, but rather a definite feeling of extreme cold in those body parts.
Despite gloves and footwear, hands and feet generally get cold when one is in near-zero temperature for extended periods. Snow and moisture automatically increase the degree of chill. Certain insulated gloves and boots will help reduce the impact, and there are a number of hand and foot warmers that can be used as well.
Still, most people have toes, fingers, ears, even cheeks and nose, get cold if they are forced to be outside for extended periods of time when the wind chills drop like they have in recent weeks. If the hands or feet get wet, they even get much colder. Hard to understand, but the moisture can actually be caused by sweating in the boot or gloves.
Up to a certain point, the colder one gets, the more painful it is. The throbbing becomes seemingly unbearable, and the warm-up is even worse as the tingling feeling can make one literally scream out loud in some cases.
However, when toes or feet become so cold that they don’t have any feeling, and the skin appears waxy and pale with a tinge of yellow, then the situation becomes much more serious. It is likely there is frostbite, and that can be a permanent injury.
There’s an old wives tale that says rubbing skin with snow will help in a case of frostbite. Those in the know emphasize: “It won’t. It will only make blistering worse, and it will make the frostbitten tissue even colder.”
When one warms frostbitten skin, the doctor said it should turn pink or red in color as the skin thaws. If the skin turns blue, purple or black, with blistering and swelling, this is a very serious problem, requiring a trip to the hospital.
A gruesome, but common saying among surgeons who have treated people with frostbite is “frostbite in January, amputate in July.” It often takes months before the final separation between healthy and dead tissues may be determined.
Beyond this waiting period, Doc explained that 65 percent of people will suffer long-term symptoms. These include pain or abnormal sensations in the extremity, heat or cold sensitivity, excessive sweating and arthritis.
Fortunately, we have never been that cold, but our daughter and son both have symptoms of the condition, although an official diagnosis has not been made. Perhaps the problems could have been prevented, but when one works or plays continuously in the extremes of nature, the power is so great that consequences sometimes must be endured.
One of the best reminders of that is given in Romans 1:20: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities of eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”