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Frostbite Treatment

The Wilderness Medical Society released a position paper on frostbite (Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, 22, 156–166. 2011). One of the points they made refers to the decision of “to thaw or not to thaw.” Partial or full ­thickness injuries are ideally thawed in a warm water bath at 99-­102°F (37-­39°C). However, in the backcountry, skin-­to‐skin contact might be most practical. If this is not possible, spontaneous or slow thawing may be unavoidable and should be allowed. Don’t purposely keep tissue frozen for extended periods of time.



These curricula recommendations have been adopted from NOLS Wilderness Medicine and have been edited to conform to the standards
set by Center for Wilderness Safety and the Wilderness Medical Society in accordance with the WMS National Practice Guidelines.