Take the bite out of frostbite

young boy bundled up in very cold landscape, frostbite, exposure to cold temperatures, tips to avoid frostbite, frost bites, frostbite symptoms, tissue damage

Frostbite can happen quickly during Minnesota winters and infants and children are at high risk. Although adults should be aware of frostbite prevention as well, children are at a greater risk because they lose heat from their skin more rapidly than adults. Following are 5 ways to avoid frostbite in children:

  1. Always check the weather forecast before letting young children go outside to be sure they are dressed appropriately and they are dressed in layers – it’s best that the first layer be cotton because it absorbs moisture.
  2. Make sure your child wears a hat that covers their ears and in extreme cold a scarf that covers their lower face and tip of nose.
  3. Choose mittens instead of gloves to keep little fingers warm.
  4. Make sure boots are waterproof – toes are prone to frostbite.
  5. Remove wet clothing especially mittens or socks as soon as possible to avoid the water freezing directly in contact with skin. Wet clothes draw heat away from the body.

Cold wind increases the risk of frostbite so avoid long exposure to the cold especially when it’s windy.

And as we all remember the tongue on the flagpole scene from a Christmas Story, teach your children not to touch cold metal with their tongue or bare skin. Frostbite is, literally, frozen body tissue and it can be very serious.

Dr. Crespo is a board certified pediatric physician with over 20 years’ experience. She takes care of pediatric patients of all ages but has a particular interest in Latino families. Dr. Crespo sees patients in the Pediatric Clinic in the Purple Building on the downtown campus where she also serves as the Medical Director.

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