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Can Blood Freeze?

When exposed to the extreme cold, many body parts and organs are affected. Can blood freeze? Learn more whether blood can freeze within a person's body.

When up against the extreme cold with 0 to negative degrees Celsius, our bodies go through various processes to survive. However, if the cold becomes too unbearable, people’s health takes a huge hit. One interesting aspect to examine is whether human blood is affected by freezing temperatures

Cosy up and keep warm as we explore whether one’s blood freezes or not. 

What is the Temp for Freezing?

First of all, let’s discuss what the temperature is for freezing. As stated previously, once temperatures hit 0 degrees Celsius, and even go negative – this is when freezing happens. In this situation, liquids start to turn solid. If this is happening, then this can be inferred as a dangerous temperature level. 

How Long Does it Take Ice to Freeze?

For reference, water actually takes quite a while to freeze and turn into ice. Even freezers that turn solidify water from ice trays will generally take an average of about four hours. This is dependent on several factors though such as the size and shape of the ice cube. 

Taking all this information for blood, the freezing point of human blood is -2 degrees Celsius. As long as a person is alive though, the blood inside the body will not freeze. 

How Cold Can a Human Body Get?

The human body can withstand cold temperatures given it has the right equipment, clothing, and preparation. However, if the body is bare and left to the whims of the unforgiving cold, it will succumb to things like frostbite or hypothermia. WIthout proper care, it can be fatal.

Then at what temperature can you freeze to death? The tissues around a person’s body generally begin to freeze at -.5 degrees Celsius. 

Can Blood Freeze?

After learning about our bodies, we now get to the crux of our learning. Is it possible to have red blood cells freeze-dried? The answer may not be as simple as one would suspect especially since there are different blood types. The whole blood also contains different components which are plasma (which also contains vital proteins), red cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The answer shifts in terms of perspective and context.

After learning about our bodies, we now get to the crux of our learning. Is it possible to have red blood cells freeze-dried? The answer may not be as simple as one would suspect especially since there are different blood types. The whole blood also contains different components which are plasma (which also contains vital proteins), red cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The answer shifts in terms of perspective and context.

Out of Body

If all we want is to know whether blood can freeze, it becomes a simple question, with the accompanying simple answer of yes. This answer, though, is only for when the blood is out of our bodies.

Frozen blood occurs at a temperature of -2 to -3°C. However, this freezing point is for blood outside of our bodies which turns it into ice crystals. Many procedures use this, with the most common one being blood donations. Scientists may freeze and keep the donated blood until needed as the shelf life may range from days to years from thawing depending on the the type of anticoagulant used.

What about our own blood within our bodies? 

Within Our Body

Despite the freezing temperature of the blood being around -2 to -3 or even -8°C, this doesn’t affect the blood in people’s bodies when they are alive. This is why we humans are called “warm-blooded” beings. 

This title is not just for show. People’s bodies constantly create, dispel heat, and maintain blood pressure so that extreme weather conditions do not spell death for us. 

Heat is created through metabolism, helped by the calories – or the amount of heat or energy it has – from the food we eat. Our body’s responses to extreme hot and cold temperatures allow us to survive.

People can only have frozen blood inside the body when they are no longer living. 

Caution With Cold

Some people may find it reassuring that blood can’t freeze in our bodies. However, that doesn’t mean people should carelessly waltz into freezing temperatures. It can bring about cold-related illnesses and conditions. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Some people may find it reassuring that blood can’t freeze in our bodies. However, that doesn’t mean people should carelessly waltz into freezing temperatures. It can bring about cold-related illnesses and conditions. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Chilblains

This condition usually affects the extremities, like our toes, fingers, nose, and ears. The small blood vessels under the skin get inflamed due to exposure to below-normal room temperatures (0 to negative degrees c), either through direct contact or damp conditions. 

The symptoms include itchiness, redness, swelling, and sometimes blistering. In severe cases, it can lead to permanent nerve damage. 

Frostbite

Frostbite is the more severe condition that may develop from prolonged exposure to cold temperatures. It happens when the water in our cells freezes solid. 

The most common places for this are on our extremities, like our toes, fingers, and nose. However, it can also happen on other exposed skin like our cheeks and chin. 

The symptoms at first are similar to chilblains. It starts with a prickling or stinging sensation followed by numbness. The skin then turns red or pale. In more severe cases, the skin turns black and hard as the tissue dies. 

This is why it’s essential to get out of the cold and warm up as soon as possible if you notice these symptoms. 

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a condition that usually happens when a person is exposed to cold weather for a prolonged period, whether through rain, snow, or wind. It can also occur if a person gets wet and cold from sweat, clothes, or water. Babies and older people are also more susceptible to this condition. 

The symptoms include shivering, confusion, sleepiness, and slow reactions. In extreme cases, a person may become unconscious. 

Things to Remember to Battle the Cold

Despite the dangers of cold weather, there are many things people can do to protect themselves. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Despite the dangers of cold weather, there are many things people can do to protect themselves. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Wear Appropriate Clothes

This is a no-brainer. When going out in cold weather, it’s important to wear clothes that keep you warm. This means layering up with clothes made from materials like wool and cotton. You should also avoid wearing wet clothes as they will make you colder.

Stay Dry

As mentioned before, getting wet in cold weather can lead to hypothermia. This is why staying dry when you’re out in the cold is crucial. If you get wet, change into dry clothes as soon as possible.

Limit Your Time Outside

It’s essential to limit your time outside in cold weather. If you can, stay indoors where it’s warm. Suppose you must go out, dress appropriately, and come back inside as soon as possible.

Eat Warm Foods and Drink Hot Beverages

Eating warm foods and drinking hot beverages can help keep you warm from the inside out. It is because they raise your body temperature. Soups and stews are great examples of warm food, while tea and coffee are great hot beverages.
Make sure not to drink alcohol, as it can make you feel colder. 

Conclusion

So, can blood freeze? It can when it is outside of the body.

Even though the chances of frozen blood within our bodies are slim to none, that doesn’t mean we should take the cold weather lightly. 

If you or your loved one gets afflicted with any cold-related illness or condition, we hope the information we have shared with you will come in handy.

It is always best to supplement this knowledge with practical first aid skills. CPR First Aid’s Australia wide first aid training locations ensure that you can take first aid and CPR training wherever you are. They will allow you to respond to someone in need and hopefully save a life when people are afflicted with conditions brought about by the cold. Learn more by taking CPR First Aid’s Liverpool course today.

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