Symptoms & Prevention Of Frostbite In Toddlers
Frostbite is referred to as damage of the body tissues caused by exposure to extreme cold. In fact, frostbite may be colloquially referred to as freezing of the skin. Severe frostbite may cause permanent damage. Small babies and toddlers are more susceptible to frostbite than adults because heat loss from their skin occurs at a comparatively faster rate. The risk of frostbite in toddlers increases when the temperature is below 32 °F, especially when it is windy.
The affected area of frostbitten skin becomes white and waxy with a sensation...
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...of numbness. The fingers and toes become stiff or begin to swell. In its first stage frostbite affects the skin. In the last stages it penetrates deep inside, affecting the muscles. In extreme cases, even bones may get affected. Immediate medical attention is required in such cases.
Prevent Toddler Frostbite
You can prevent your toddler from frostbite in extreme cold weather by dressing him (or her) in layers before going out. Dressing in layers provides more thermal insulation, thereby preventing heat loss from the body. Before going out in the cold, feed your baby with a high-calorie meal, as more calories are required to maintain the body temperature.
Signs of Toddler Frostbite
If you find signs of frostbite on your toddler, take immediate action. You must go to a doctor. Until you manage to get your toddler to a doctor, the following treatment should be administered for toddler frostbite:
- Carry your baby to a warm environment. Keep his ears covered with your hands.
- Try to walk in an area where the wind is blocked. The wind chill factor is as important as the temperature.
- Warm the affected areas against your body and press his palms under your armpits.
- If immediate medical care is unavailable, immerse the affected areas in warm water slightly above the body temperature (around 102 to 105 °F). Continue adding the warm water to maintain the temperature. Never use hot water. Remove the affected area from water after the skin returns to its normal color.
- Do not apply direct heat using a heater, heating pad or hot air blower. This practice can worsen the damage to skin tissues.
- Do no rub the affected skin.
- Re-warming the skin causes a burning sensation. The skin may turn red or blue with blisters.
- After re-warming wrap the affected areas in a blanket to prevent refreezing.
- Wrap the toes and fingers by warm cloth strips such that each toe or finger is separated from each other.
- Give your toddler warm fluids such as warm milk or water.