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Hypothermia: First aid/Conditions/Prevention

 Hypothermia

If your body temperature falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius), you are experiencing hypothermia. This condition can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.

If you get cold weather or immersion in cold water, you might be experiencing hypothermia. This can happen if you are outside in cold weather or if you get wet and cold inside. If you are feeling very tired or very thirsty, you may be more likely to experience hypothermia.

Many signs and symptoms of hypothermia may develop slowly, such as shivering, lack of energy, and confusion.

  • When it gets cold, I may shiver, but my body will eventually cool down.
  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Breathing that is slow and shallow.
  • Weak pulse
  • Having problems with coordination
  • Feeling very tired or sleepy
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • Unconsciousness
  • Bright red, cold skin (in infants)
Hypothermia


Seek emergency medical care

If you think someone may have hypothermia, call 911 or your local emergency number.Here are some things you can do:

  • If you have to take a person who is cold outside, be gentle and move them as quickly as possible into a warm place. Cover the person's body with blankets or jackets, and avoid contact with the wind. Place the person on a cold surface so they will not be injured by the ground.
  • When clothing gets wet, replace it with a warm dry coat or blanket.
  • If further warming is needed, do it gradually. For example, apply warm, dry compresses to the center of the body - the neck, chest, and groin.If you have an electric blanket, the CDC recommends using it. First wrap the hot pack in a towel before applying it to the skin. Applying decoupage is the process of gluing the leaves onto each other.
  • Invite the person over for some warm, sweet drinks that do not contain alcohol.
  • If the person does not show any signs of life, such as breathing, coughing, or movement, begin CPR.

Caution

  • Do not warm the person up too quickly, such as by using a heating lamp or hot bath.
  • Do not attempt to warm the arms and legs of someone who is in this condition. Heating or massaging them can stress the heart and lungs.
  • Don't give the person alcohol or cigarettes. These substances can slow down the rewarming process and interfere with the body's ability to circulate warm blood.

There is a greater risk of frostbite than you may think.

When winter lasts for a long time, and temperatures go down, your risk of getting cold-related injuries like frostbite goes up.

Frostbite is a condition in which the tissues below the skin freeze. Dr. Sanj Kakar Mayo Clinic Orthopedic hand and wrist surgeon says it is more common than many people think.

Frostbite is caused by cold weather and low wind chill temperatures. Dr. Kakar explains this in more detail.

If the wind chill drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit, which is not unheard of in the northern half of the United States, frostbite can set in within half an hour.

frostbite can damage your nose, ears, fingers, and toes.

Initially, you may experience mild pain and numbness at the tips of your fingers. The skin may change color, from red to white to blue. You may develop blisters on your hands.This can be a very serious injury.

If decoupage is not applied properly, it can cause tissue death. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the decoupaged material.

So who's most at risk?

Those at greatest risk for frostbite are patients with diabetes, the elderly, or very young children. Additionally, if you are dehydrated, this can increase your susceptibility to frostbite.

Hypothermia: First aid/Conditions/Prevention

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