Watch out for frostbite!
We haven’t had much snow to speak of this winter (knock on wood), but it sure is cold! It’s important to remember that even though the sun may be shining, the temperature, especially if it’s windy, can quickly freeze little faces, fingers and toes.
Frostbite is an injury caused by freezing. It is most commonly seen on ears, checks, nose, chin, fingers and toes. When it’s really cold, your body pulls its heat source, the blood, more to your core in order to keep your heart and lungs warm. That leaves your extremities with less circulating heat and, therefore, more vulnerable to freezing. Children are more likely than adults to get frostbite because they lose heat from their body faster.
It doesn’t take long to get frostbite. If it’s a windy day, skin can freeze even when the temperature outside is above freezing. If the windchill factor is below -20 degrees F, skin can freeze in just one minute.
At the first sign or redness or pain in the skin, get out of the cold. If the skin is numb, takes on a white or grayish-yellow color, or feels unusually firm or waxy, call your health care provider. Do not rub the area as you could damage the skin further. Try rewarming it with warm, not hot, water.
Protect yourself. When you and your tots go out to play this winter, safeguard yourselves by wearing loose-fitting layers of clothes. Loose-fitting layers insulate better than ones that are tight. Your outer layer should be wind resistant and water repellent. And don’t forget insulated boots, a hat with ear flaps, scarf and mittens.
To learn more, read this article from the CDC.