How can you prevent frostbite?

Stay safe and take simple precautions to help prevent frostbite and its symptoms.

  • Avoid going outside: When it’s cold out, try to stay indoors.
  • Limit your trips: If you do have to go outside, try to limit it to 10 or 15 minutes before going back inside for a few hours.
  • Dress warmly before going out: Dress appropriately whenever you know you’re going to be in cold temperatures. Layer your clothing, wear two pairs of socks, a thick hat, mittens (never gloves — gloves don’t keep your fingers together to warm them) — and a heavy scarf over your face and mouth. Keep your ears covered since they’re so easily frostbitten.
  • Wear windproof and waterproof clothing: Wear clothes designed to keep the weather out and to keep your head and neck area warm.
  • Don’t cut off your circulation: Make sure your boots and clothes aren’t too tight. This can cause poor circulation. Avoid cramped positions and stay moving to keep a good blood flow.

When traveling in cold weather, always bring your phone with you. It’s your lifeline to medical help if you have an accident or get stuck on the road. Finally, pack a car emergency kit in your vehicle. That way you’re prepared with first aid, food and water, gloves, boots and blankets whenever the weather turns bad.

Can animals get frostbite?

Remember you’re not the only one who can get frostbite — your pets can too. Be sure to keep them warm inside when cold weather’s on its way. Don’t wait until it’s already snowing to let dogs back in or to stable your horses.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/21/2020.


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