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Frostbitten Hands

Swollen Red Hands Almost Look Like Burns

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Updated January 11, 2010

Frostbitten hands

Frostbite looks much like burns and causes similar damage to tissues

(c) A.D.A.M.

The similarity between burns and frostbite is apparent in these fingers. Note the blisters and swelling -- both common in all types of severe burns.

Sometimes, the only way to tell the difference is by knowing how it happened. If severe cold caused the injury, it's frostbite. If heat, radiation or chemical exposure caused the injury, it's a burn.

It usually takes longer for frostbite to occur than burning, but that's not to say it can't happen fast. In extremely cold environments, frostbite can happen in minutes. Still, some burns are instantaneous.

Frostbite treatment is a delicate process. The tissues must be warmed very slowly to prevent further damage.

Have a frostbite picture you'd like to share? Tell us about your experience, see other readers' frostbite injuries and submit your own frostbite picture.

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