TYPES OF COLD INJURES
The principle types of cold injuries are chilblains, dehydration, immersion
syndrome, frostbite, snow blindness, and hypothermia.
a. Chilblains. Chilblain is caused by prolonged exposure of bare skin to cool or
cold temperatures [50F (10C) or lower]. Signs and symptoms of chilblain include:
Redness or pallor of affected areas (fingers, nose, ears, and so forth).
Absence of pain (numbness) in the affected area.
Hot, tender, itching skin.
b. Dehydration. Dehydration is as dangerous in cold weather as in hot
weather. Actually, dehydration is more common in the winter because the soldier does
not feel as thirsty and, therefore, is less likely to consume adequate amounts of water.
Signs and symptoms of cold weather dehydration include:
Mouth, tongue, and throat that are parched and dry.
Difficulty in swallowing.
Nausea and dizziness.
Feeling tired and weak.
Muscle cramps, especially in the legs.
Vision problems (may have difficulty in focusing eyes).
c. Immersion Syndrome. Immersion syndrome is caused by prolonged
exposure (hours to days) to wet conditions at temperatures from 50F to 32F (10C to
0C). Immersion foot, trench foot, and trench hand are types of immersion syndrome
injuries. Inactive feet in damp conditions, wet socks and boots, and tightly-laced boots
which impair circulation make feet even more susceptible to injury. Trench foot occurred
frequently during World War I as soldiers stood in cold, wet, muddy trenches for
extended periods of time awaiting the order to move. Immersion syndrome can be
divided into two phases. Signs and symptoms of each phase are as follows.