Winter is now here and we need to keep warm. If we get cold we start to shiver and try to keep warm. We sometimes can get frostbite if we are outside in cold weather. Frostbite is, literally, frozen body tissue – usually skin but sometimes deeper – and must be handled carefully to prevent permanent tissue damage or loss. Obviously the colder and windier it is, the quicker an unprotected body part or area will become frostbitten. The skin around a frost bitten area initially becomes red then pale and very rarely bluish. As the skin warms up there can be some blisters.
What to do if you or your child gets frostbite:
*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 possible.
*Go to the Emergency Room
*Do not use direct heat such as a fire or heating pad.
*Soak frozen part or area in warm water (not hot water)
*Be gentle, as frozen tissue can be damaged easily. Do not rub or break blisters and do not massage the frozen area or rub it with snow or ice
*Frostbite is usually painful, For associated pain, acetaminophen may be needed according to age and weight
Ways to prevent frostbite:
* Wear adequate clothing to protect the skin. Wear several layers of warm clothing that will block wind, wick moisture from the skin, and maintain body heat.
* Cover your hands, feet, nose, and ears (mittens not gloves, wool socks, neck muffler to cover the nose, hats with ear protection).
* Allow your body time to adjust from a warm climate to a cold one.
* Remain indoors during unusually cold or windy days or keep outside trips short.
* Never consume alcohol before going into the cold or while in it.
* Keep your skin dry. Wet skin freezes faster than dry skin.
Avoid frostbite and hypothermia when you are exposed to cold temperatures by wearing layered clothing, eating a well-balanced diet, and drinking warm, non-alcoholic, caffeine-free liquids to maintain fluid levels.
Avoid becoming wet, as wet clothing loses 90 percent of its insulating value.