Spray-On Gel Treats Frostbite in the Field

Spray-On Gel Treats Frostbite in the Field
A spray-on gel able to quickly treat frostbite in the field reduces pain while also helping prevent more serious complications.

Frostbite can ultimately lead to amputation if left untreated, but typical treatments involving warm water dunks or creams are not feasible in extremely cold or remote areas. As a better alternative, the team from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology created a cold-stable spray gel containing heparin, which reduces clotting and aids in blood vessel repair. The heparin is delivered through the tissue within liposomes, which are embedded in the gel along with the painkiller ibuprofen and propylene glycol, which keeps the gel from freezing.

In tests on lab mice, the gel completely healed the frostbite within 14 days, compared to 40 percent healing of untreated wounds and 80 percent healing of wounds treated with antibiotics.

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