Staying outdoors during the winter and having fun in the snow is pretty tempting and for good reason. However, such cold weather comes with its own problems, including the possibility of frostbite.

The first stage of frostbite is called frostnip and occurs when the skin is exposed to temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for a prolonged period, causing soreness or redness. When you stay in cold conditions for long, your blood vessels constrict and divert blood away from the skin to ensure your core body temperature is maintained.

While indicators of frostnip include the skin appearing red and feeling numb, the symptoms of frostbite are more severe. If you get frostbite, your skin turns from red to grayish-yellow or white, and sores or blisters start forming.

Children are more prone to getting frostnip or frostbite because they lose heat from their skin faster than adults, so parents must take the necessary precautions. Some simple steps to prevent frostbite or frostnip in children include keeping their toes, cheeks, ears, and fingers warm and dressing them in warm clothes. Also, offer them warm beverages, like hot chocolate, to keep them indoors and help them warm up.

If they are affected by frostnip, bring them indoors and warm their skin using warm blankets or towels. You can also run the frost nipped area under warm (not hot) water. Direct heat in the form of hot water, fire, or a heating pad on the frostbitten area may burn the already damaged skin tissue. Avoid massaging or rubbing the skin because while it may produce heat, it could also damage the affected tissue. If someone is affected by frostbite, get medical help immediately to prevent permanent tissue damage.

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