With winter officially upon us and our kids eager to play outside, Dr. Jamie Kondis, Pediatrician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, is here to help us better understand the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of cold weather injuries. Children are at greater risk for cold weather illnesses such as frostbite or hypothermia because their smaller bodies tend to get colder more quickly.
Frostbite is a big concern in the winter, occurring in extremities like the fingers, toes, and nose, causing them to become red and tingly, then gray and numb, or even develop blisters. Soaking extremities in warm water for 20-30 minutes will usually soothe the symptoms. If your child is still in pain, call your pediatrician or take them to the ER.
Hypothermia occurs when a person’s body temperature drops too low. Symptoms start with shivering but can turn into clumsiness, confusion, or lethargy. This is considered a medical emergency so as you seek medical attention, remove any wet clothing and wrap your child in warm blankets.
Cold weather shouldn’t stop your kids from having fun outside. As temperatures get low, monitor your child’s exposure time and bundle them up in warm layers of clothing to prevent cold weather-related injuries.