Frozen or Stuck Tongue or Other Body Part
If you touch a frozen metal surface with a wet body part such as your tongue, lip, or wet hand, it could stick.
To free a tongue or other body part that's frozen or stuck:
- Don't pull or tug. This can cause an injury.
- Have someone pour warm water on the metal and on the part of the body that's stuck.
- Try breathing or blowing warm breaths on the area.
- If none of these things work, you may have to call 911.
After you're freed, call your doctor if you're injured.
The area may bleed after being freed from the metal surface.
If the area is in the mouth or on the lips, avoid swallowing blood by sitting up and tilting the head forward with the chin down so the blood drains out of the mouth.
If emergency care is not needed, the following steps will protect the wound:
- If you are helping someone else who is hurt, wash your hands and wear gloves or other protection before you try to stop the bleeding.
- Return any skin flap to its normal position. If needed, hold the flap in place with a clean cloth or gauze.
- Apply steady pressure with a clean cloth to the injured area. Hold the pressure for 15 minutes.
- Mild bleeding usually stops on its own or slows to an ooze or trickle after 15 minutes of pressure.
- If moderate to severe bleeding has not slowed or stopped, keep putting direct pressure on the wound while getting help.
Caring for a torn piece of tongue
If a piece of tongue rips or tears off when it's removed from the metal, here are steps to follow:
- Wrap the piece of tongue in a clean cloth or sterile gauze, if available.
- Put the wrapped piece of tongue in a bag of ice to keep it cool. Do not put the piece directly on the ice. Do not cover it in ice water.
- Go to the emergency room right away. Be sure to take the bag with you.
A small tear or rip that has stopped bleeding probably doesn't need emergency care.
Current as of: July 11, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board: All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.