Extreme temperatures, whether heat or cold, can result in distinctive injuries with long-lasting effects. Training in the cold, especially when there’s ice and snow, can result in hypothermia, frostbite, chilblains, immersion/trench foot, dehydration, snow blindness, and sunburn. And for veterans of World War II or the Korean War, cold weather injuries were common, but not commonly treated at the time of the injury.
Cold weather injuries may have a period where there are no symptoms, but worsen with age. Both freezing injuries (like frostbite) and non-freezing injuries (like chilblains and trench foot) can result in problems with nerves and circulation. You might experience bouts of pain in the extremities, hot and cold tingling, and numbness. Or you might have trouble with circulation, where your extremities go white when cold and are very slow to warm back up.
Cold injury residuals are compensable claims by the VA. Some veterans of the Korean War, specifically those who were part of the Chosin Reservoir Campaign, are presumed to have cold injuries, because so many suffered from cold injuries. However, if you participated in cold weather training and suffered a cold injury, you may also make a claim for cold injury residuals. If you weren’t treated for cold injuries during service, you’ll need to find some evidence of a cold injury. A buddy statement from someone who served with you, or a doctor’s opinion that your current disability was caused by a cold injury while in service will be important.
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