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Immersion Syndrome

Immersion syndrome is caused by prolonged exposure to wet conditions at temperatures from 50 degrees F to 32 degrees F (10 degrees C to 0″ C). Immersion foot, trench foot, and trench hand are types of immersion syndrome injuries. Signs of immersion syndrome include blisters, swelling, redness, skin hot to the touch, and bleeding. Immersion syndrome usually occurs in three stages.

In the first phase, the affected part is cold and without pain. There is a weak pulse at the site.

In the second phase, the affected limb feels hot and has shooting pains.

In the third phase, the victim has pale skin, bluish coloring around the nail beds and lips, and a weak pulse.


  • Dry the affected part immediately
  • Remove wet clothing and replace with dry, warm clothing
  • Rewarm the affected area gradually in warm air. Do not massage the area. The area will probably become swollen, red, and hot to the touch after it has been rewarmed. Blisters may form also
  • Protect the victim from injury and infection. Do not break blisters. This could cause infection
  • Elevate the affected part to reduce swelling