When up against the extreme cold, 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 blood is affected by freezing temperatures.
Cosy up and keep warm as we explore whether blood freezes or not.
Can Blood Freeze?
After learning about our bodies, we now get to the crux of our learning. Is it possible to have frozen blood? The answer may not be as simple as one would suspect—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. Many procedures use this, with the most common one being blood donations. Scientists may freeze and keep the donated blood until needed.
What about the 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 and dispel heat 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.
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 cold temperatures, 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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 get 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. 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.