Frostbite occurs when the skin and the tissue just underneath it freezes. This usually happens when a person has been outside in extremely cold temperatures. Frostbite is most common on the fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks, and chin, and is often accompanied by hypothermia, a dangerous drop in the body's core temperature. There are three stages of frostbite, spanning the early mild tingling sensation to permanent tissue, muscle and joint damage, and possible amputation.
The most common cause of frostbite is exposure to extremely cold temperatures without adequate protective clothing. The chance of frostbite increases dramatically in temperatures below 5 degrees Fahrenheit, even in low to moderate wind conditions. Frostbite can also occur after touching low-temperature surfaces such as ice.
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