Winter’s here, which means kids are likely to be playing in the snow and exploring the winter world around us. In most cases, you’ll be able to keep them safe, warm and healthy this winter, but, kids being kids, gloves get lost and sneakers are worn instead of snow boots. When this happens, you may be looking at a case of frostbite, and treating frostbite at home is the first step to a speedy recovery.
Frostbite sets in when extremities such as fingers, toes and ears are exposed to cold conditions. Recognizable when flesh turns color – black or white – and gets hard to the touch. Often frostbite patients can’t feel pain, as injured tissue have lost feeling.
Mild frostbite is treatable with first-aid at home, but more severe cases require professional medical attention. Treating frostbite at home includes:
This seems like a no-brainer, but your first priority is to warm up as much as possible. Come inside if you’re not in the wilderness. Home remedies instruct you to rub additional snow on frostbitten areas. Don’t. This will only further the problem.
Even if you’re in a remote area, you can remove wet clothing for dry, warmer clothes. Cover frostbitten areas with additional layers of dry, warm protection.
Remove rings, watches, bracelets and any other bangles before treating.
Treat frostbitten areas by soaking them in warm, but not hot water. Soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Gradually warm the area rather than exposing it intense heat, which can cause burns.
Frostbitten areas are likely to start to hurt as they thaw. Administer painkillers such as ibuprofen to manage pain.
Frostbite can be a dangerous condition, so you need to monitor your child’s condition during home treatment. If blisters develop or sensation doesn’t return to affected areas, seek immediate medical attention.