|CIRCA 1768 | Incorporated 1912
|FROSTBITE: What it is & How to treat
|Frostbite is, literally,
frozenbody tissue usually skin but sometimes deeper and must be
handled carefully to prevent permanent tissue damage.
Kids are at greater risk for frostbite than adults, both because they lose heat
from their skin more rapidly than adults and because they may be reluctant to
leave their winter fun to go inside and warm up. You can help prevent frostbite in cold weather by
dressing kids in layers, making sure they come indoors at regular intervals,
and watching for frostnip, frostbite's early warning signal.
Frostnip usually affects areas that are exposed to the cold, such as the
cheeks, nose, ears, fingers, and toes, leaving them red and numb or tingly.
Frostnip can be treated at home.
child indoors immediately.
Remove all wet clothing. Wet clothes draw heat from the body.
Immerse chilled body parts in warm (not
hot) water for 20 to 30 minutes until all sensation
Don't let your
child control the water temperature during rewarming. Numb hands
won't feel the heat and can be severely burned by water
that is too hot.
doctor if sensation does not return or there are signs of
Frostbite is characterized by
white, waxy skin that feels numb and hard. It requires immediate emergency
What to do:
Get your child into dry clothing, in a warm
doctor immediately or take your child to a hospital emergency room. If feet
are affected, carry your child.
If you cannot get to a hospital right away
or must wait for an ambulance, give your child a warm
drink and begin first-aid treatment:
frozen areas in warm water (around 100° Fahrenheit) or apply
warm compresses for 30 minutes. If warm water is not
available, wrap gently in warm
-- Do not use direct
heat such as a fire or heating pad.
-- Do not thaw the area if it is at risk for
refreezing, which may cause severe tissue damage.
-- Do not rub frostbitten skin or
rub snow on it.
-- Rewarming will
be accompanied by a burning sensation. Skin may blister
and swell and may turn red, blue, or purple. When skin
is pink and no longer numb, the area is thawed.
-- Apply sterile dressing to the
area, placing it between fingers and toes if they are
affected. Try not to disturb any blisters.
-- Wrap rewarmed areas to prevent refreezing, and
have your child keep thawed areas as still as
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