Have you touched dry ice? If not, we recommend you don’t. A burn from dry ice is unlike a burn from a stove top or fire. Instead, a dry ice burn is a form of frostbite. It can quickly freeze and damage your skin from a moment of contact. So, why does this happen? Keep reading to learn how dry ice burns your skin.
Understanding Dry Ice
Dry ice is made of carbon dioxide (CO2) – the exact gas we exhale! It’s formed when you freeze liquid carbon dioxide in a tank at -79 Celsius under high pressure. Due to its effects, dry ice is often used as a coolant and has recently been utilized to maintain vaccines cool during transport. Dry ice is also responsible for the foggy, dreamy effect on stage at concerts!
Moreover, you will likely notice fumes coming out of dry ice. This process is known as sublimation – dry ice changes its state from solid to gas. It doesn’t melt like regular ice because CO2 exists as a gas, not a liquid. So, dry ice evaporates directly into a gas instead of melting and becoming a liquid.
Dry Ice Causes Ice Burn
Dry ice burns your skin via an ice burn. An ice burn is an injury produced by touching an icy object. It usually happens after exposure to freezing temperatures for a long time. In addition, it’s called an ice burn because the injury is similar to an actual burn – sore, red, itchy, or sometimes numb and black for days. Also, dry ice burns your skin because it’s so freezing that skin cells rupture and die when it touches the human skin.
Additionally, the blood vessels near the burnt skin minimize blood flow to the area and lead to numbness. Moreover, dry ice could destroy nerve endings within minutes at frigid temperatures.
Preventing and Treating Ice Burn
It’s better to pay it safe and never eat dry ice! It’s nothing like consuming ice. Dry ice can burn the inside of your mouth and intestines severely. Ideally, utilize cryo-protective gloves if you use dry ice. In case of an ice burn, the most prevalent treatment is to soak the injured area in lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water since it can worsen the burn. Lastly, applying ointments like aloe vera cream can assist soothe the discomfort.
Dry Ice for All Your Needs
Dry Ice Corp is the largest regional supplier of dry ice and related products in the Northeastern United States. Our ice is fresh and delivered right to your doorstep. We are happy to help you determine the best way to ship your goods, whether you have a huge number of cookies or a single pie, and help you select the perfect amount of dry ice for the job. Give us a call at (201) 767-3200, or contact us online for a quote. To connect with us online, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.