Frostnip is the lesser form of frostbite, but it can still be quite painful. If you're suffering from pain in your fingers, toes, and ears, it's likely frostnip and it needs to be treated quickly before it progresses into frostbite. Follow these steps to treat frostnip effectively.
Get inside. The first thing you need to do in order to treat your frostnip is to stop it from getting worse. You need to get indoors as quickly as possible to reduce the chances of your frostnip progressing further into frostbite. Seek the nearest shelter (preferably somewhere warm) and start warming up using the following methods.
Uncover the affected area. You will be able to tell which part of your body has frostnip because it will likely be painful and sensitive to touch. Whether it's your fingers, your toes, your ears or your nose, remove any coverings from the area.
Run some hot water. Next, you will want to help to warm the affected area of your body quickly. Warm some water on your camp stove if you're in the wilderness, or run a tub of warm water if you're at home. Then place the part of your body that has frostnip into the warm water. It shouldn't be too painful to do this. If it is, allow the water to cool, or add some cold water to it. Leave the frost-nipped body part in the warm water until you can sense that your own body heat has fully returned to it. You can tell if your body part is fully re-warmed by ensuring that all the color has come back to it. The skin should be soft and not sensitive to the touch if the heat has returned to it.
If you can't find any warm water, then use your body heat or someone else's to bring the heat back to the part of your body that has frostnip. Place the body part (fully uncovered) directly against the warm body part. Cheeks can be warmed against hands, and hands can be warmed under armpits.
If, while you are trying to re-warm your skin, you notice blisters starting to form, you likely have frostbite and not frostnip. In this case, treat for frostbite immediately.
Don't allow the body part to freeze again. Once you have re-warmed the frost-nipped area of your body, try not to allow it to get cold or freeze again. This can and will cause severe tissue damage to that area of your body, which will be very painful and debilitating.
Visit your family doctor if necessary. Sometimes a little heat and rest are all that will be necessary to fully treat frostnip. But if you're worried that your frostnip isn't healing properly, see your doctor. You might have a more severe case of actual frostbite, which will require medical attention.
Frostnip and frostbite are possible to get in any season. It doesn't necessarily have to be in the middle of a blizzard, although this is the more common case. Ensure that you're always aware of the forecast weather if you're planning on being outdoors for any length of time, and dress in layers so that you can remove or add clothing as the weather or your body temperature changes. Doing so will help you to prevent frostnip so that you never have to treat it.