Testing & Diagnosis for Frostbite in Children

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First-aid for frostbite

Specific treatment for frostbite will be determined by your child's physician based on the extent and severity of the injury. But in general:

  • Remain calm and reassure your child that you can help. If feet are affected, carry your child; do not allow him or her to walk.
  • Move your child inside to a warm area and put him or her in dry clothes. Call your child's physician or take your child to the emergency room immediately. Frostbite can cause serious injury and needs immediate medical attention.
  • While waiting for medical assistance:
    • Give your child something warm to drink and wrap a blanket around him or her.
    • Warm the skin by using warm compresses or immersing the area in warm water (100 to 105 degrees F) until sensation returns.
    • Do not rub or massage the skin.
    • Do not use direct heat such as heating pads or fires.
    • Do not place the frostbitten skin in snow to "warm" it.
    • Apply clean cotton or gauze between fingers and toes if they are affected.
    • Do not disturb any blisters.
    • Wrap warmed areas of the skin to prevent further damage.

Further treatment will depend on the extent and severity of injury and may include treatment of skin damage with debridement or surgery.

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