Dangerous wind chills mean frostbite is possible in 15 minutes or less

Posted at 6:00 AM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 06:48:15-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Local health experts are warning people across West Michigan about dangerous wind chills Wednesday and Thursday that could allow frostbite to set in after being exposed to the cold for 15 minutes or less.

Parents are being warned to bundle up their kids if you have to leave your house. The best advice is to have multiple layers of clothing and cover up fingers, toes, ears, cheeks, and noses, to limit the chance of getting frostbite.

"So when your kids are telling you that there hand are hurting or it feels like there hands are burning that's usually a sign that they're at that frost bite stage so again do not stick their hands under hot water that is too much for their little hands when they can’t feel right so using a warm cloth is the most important thing to do to keep that frost bite from getting worse," said Jennifer Hoekstra, injury prevention specialist at Helen DeVos Hospital.

Parents can look out for red or rosy skin on these areas because it`s an early sign. The second sign of frostbite setting in is your skin hardening or feeling like you're being poked by needles.

Doctors say one remedy is to use a warm rag against the skin, to get the blood flowing again. Staying hydrating by drinking lots of water will also help to prevent frostbite.

Hypothermia develops when a child's temperature falls below normal due to exposure to cold. It often happens when children are playing outdoors in extremely cold weather without wearing proper clothing or when clothes get wet.

As hypothermia sets in, the child may shiver and become lethargic and clumsy. A child’s speech may become slurred and body temperature will decline.

Parents should call 911 immediately if they suspect their child is hypothermic. Until help arrives, they should take the child indoors, remove any wet clothing and wrap him or her in blankets or warm clothes.