family blogWinter first aid: Know the signs of frostbite

Shoveling snow
The Polar Vortex descended on the northern U.S. bringing the kind of cold many have never experienced before. It’s more important than ever to know how to care for yourself and your family in snow and cold.

Whether you’ve been out shoveling for a little too long, your car got stuck on the highway that final ski run was just too good to miss or your children got so excited sledding or building a snowman that they forgot to come in, you might find a case of frostnip, or worse, frostbite.??If skin ears, fingers, toes or face becomes very red or it’s stinging or burning, the child or adult should get indoors immediately. This could be the beginning of something serious. Pediatrician Dr. Jen Canter, known as Dr. Jen®, explains what steps to take:

Know the signs of serious injury:

Frostnip: First stage of cold damage. Red skin and stinging and burning extremities (including ears). Warm the skin gently with warm (not hot) compresses, or submerge in warm water. You may hold a hand or foot to warm it but do not rub.
Change into fresh dry clothes.

?Frostbite: If the skin is numb or changes color to white or grayish-yellow, it may be frostbite and you should get medical attention.??Hypothermia: When a person is outside for extended periods of time, it is possible for her to experience hypothermia. That’s when a person's temperature falls below normal. If the he’s (or you) is shivering, has changes in behavior, or a burning/numbness or discoloration of the skin lasting more than a few minutes, seek medical attention or call 911. While waiting for help, keep the person warm and hydrated.

?Hypothermia: When a person is outside for extended periods of time, it is possible for her to experience hypothermia. That’s when a person's temperature falls below normal. If the he’s (or you) is shivering, has changes in behavior, or a burning/numbness or discoloration of the skin lasting more than a few minutes, seek medical attention or call 911. While waiting for help, keep the person warm and hydrated.

Remember, even if you are getting into a car in a garage and running into a store or building on the other end of your journey, make sure you have warm clothing in the car, including hats and gloves, waterproof boots and warm blankets. You never know if you’ll get stuck.

Find more family snow and cold safety tips here

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