Megann Sauer, M.D. Boys Town Pediatrics
Frostbite is a dangerous problem that can occur with kids because their skin is very thin and so it can happen quickly.
Frostbite occurs, most commonly, on the tip of the nose, the ears, cheeks and fingers.
If the skin becomes frostbit you'll sometimes see a gray or white appearance to the skin.
If you're concerned that your child has skin that has become frostbitten, you should definitely call your pediatrician, but we would want you to start the rewarming process at home as soon as possible.
Rapidly rewarming the skin with warm heat is the best treatment to do for frostbitten skin.
If it's an area that can be immersed in water, you want to place that area in warm water or with warm washcloths until you notice a pink flush developing back into the skin.
That can sometimes take 20 to 30 minutes to occur.
You should not use dry heat, such as a space heater or electric heat lamp to rewarm it.
The reason for this is that frostbitten skin is more easily burned. That is why you always want to use wet heat.
The best way to prevent skin from becoming frost bit is to have it appropriately dressed for the conditions.
If the wind chills are very low, the best thing is to not take kids outside.
If you do have to go outside, you must make sure your child is appropriately dressed with a hat, mittens and other winter garments to prevent their skin from being exposed to the wind.
Everyone is susceptible to frostbite but children are at greater risk than adults because they lose heat from their skin faster. Dr. Megann Sauer, pediatrician at Boys Town Pediatrics, explains what frostbite looks like, how parents should rewarm their child's skin if they suspect frostbite, and how frostbite can be prevented.