Photo: U.S. Department of Defense
Servicemembers have been exposed to extreme cold in combat and military training missions. The major cold injuries they suffer include frostbite, non-freezing cold injuries, immersion foot (formerly called trench foot), and hypothermia.
The risk of cold injury depends on several environmental conditions including temperature, wind and moisture, in combination with physical activity, the duration of exposure, and amount of protection. The individual’s level of fitness and cold susceptibility also contribute to the risk.
If you are concerned about health problems associated with cold injuries, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.
Veterans may have been exposed to extreme cold without adequate protection during:
Cold injuries may result in long-term health problems, including the following signs and symptoms (at the site of exposure):
VA has developed a guide for clinicians on how to diagnose and treat cold injuries. Veterans and others also may be interested.
If you are concerned about health problems associated with cold injuries during your military service, talk to your health care provider or local VA Environmental Health Coordinator.
Veterans may file a claim for disability compensation for health problems they believe are related to cold injuries during military service. VA decides these claims on a case-by-case basis. File a claim online.
Learn more about VA benefits.