Wilderness Medical Society practice guidelines for the prevention and treatment of frostbite: 2014 update

Wilderness Environ Med. 2014 Dec;25(4 Suppl):S43-54. doi: 10.1016/j.wem.2014.09.001.


The Wilderness Medical Society convened an expert panel to develop a set of evidence-based guidelines for the prevention and treatment of frostbite. We present a review of pertinent pathophysiology. We then discuss primary and secondary prevention measures and therapeutic management. Recommendations are made regarding each treatment and its role in management. These recommendations are graded on the basis of the quality of supporting evidence and balance between the benefits and risks or burdens for each modality according to methodology stipulated by the American College of Chest Physicians. This is an updated version of the original guidelines published in Wilderness & Environmental Medicine 2011;22(2):156-166.

Keywords: aloe vera; frostbite; frostbite prevention; hypothermia; rewarming; thrombolysis.

Publication types

  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Frostbite / classification*
  • Frostbite / physiopathology
  • Frostbite / prevention & control
  • Frostbite / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Societies, Medical
  • Wilderness Medicine* / standards