December 14, 2007 |
How to recognize and treat frostbite.
What is frostbite?
Frostbite can be a very serious condition. It occurs when the skin and outer tissues become frozen and most commonly affects the extremities – the fingers, toes, ears and nose. Kids are more susceptible to frostbite because they lose heat faster than adults and they’re a little more determined to weather the cold and prolong their winter fun.
What to do:
Frostbite requires immediate emergency medical attention and is characterized by gray or white waxy skin that goes numb and feels hard. It can also be accompanied by blisters.
If you believe your child is suffering from frostbite get him into warm clothing and take him immediately to the emergency room. If you believe his feet are also frostbitten, carry him to the car. If you cannot get to a hospital quickly or if you need to wait for an ambulance:
• Give your child something warm to drink.
• Immerse the frostbitten areas in warm water – around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. For the nose, ears and lips you can apply a warm compress for thirty minutes.
• Never use direct heat or a heating pad.
• Do not rub the area as this can cause even more damage.
• After the skin thaws, apply a sterile dressing to the areas and in between the fingers and toes if applicable. Have your child keep the thawed areas as still as possible. Thawing can be accompanied by a good deal of pain and tingling.