Frostbites in circumpolar areas.
Authors: Ikäheimo TM,Hassi J,
Address: Institute of Health Sciences and the Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland. email@example.com
Journal: Glob Health Action.
Publication: 2011;4. doi: 10.3402/gha.v4i0.8456. Epub 2011 Oct 10.
circumpolar areas are associated with prolonged cold exposure where wind, precipitation, and darkness further aggravate the environmental conditions and the associated risks. Despite the climate warming, cold climatic conditions will prevail in circumpolar areas and contribute to adverse health effects. Frostbite is a freezing injury where localized damage affects the skin and other tissues. It occurs during occupational or leisure-time activities and is common in the general population among men and women of various ages. Industries of the circumpolar areas where frostbite occurs frequently include transportation, mining, oil, and gas industry, construction, agriculture, and military operations. Cold injuries may also occur during leisure-time activities involving substantial cold exposure, such as mountaineering, skiing, and snowmobiling. Accidental situations (occupational, leisure time) often contribute to adverse cooling and cold injuries. Several environmental (temperature, wind, wetness, cold objects, and altitude) and individual (behavior, health, and physiology) predisposing factors are connected with frostbite injuries. Vulnerable populations include those having a chronic disease (cardiovascular, diabetes, and depression), children and the elderly, or homeless people. Frostbite results in sequelae causing different types of discomfort and functional limitations that may persist for years. A frostbite injury is preventable, and hence, unacceptable from a public health perspective. Appropriate cold risk management includes awareness of the adverse effects of cold, individual adjustment of cold exposure and clothing, or in occupational context different organizational and technical measures. In addition, vulnerable population groups need customized information and care for proper prevention of Frostbites.
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