Overview Of Hypothermia
Hypothermia ranges from mild chills and trembling to unconsciousness and even death. Hypothermia is defined as a body temperature of below 95 degrees.
- Inaudible speech.
- Memory loss.
- Loss of control of bodily functions.
Some exposures to the cold are worse than others. Cold casualty’s misplace body heat much faster than casualty’s who are dry. Cool conditions cause casualty’s to misplace heat extremely quickly as well.
- Stay Safe! If it is freezing enough to cause hypothermia for the casualty, it’s cold enough to cause hypothermia for the first aider. Apply general precautions and wear protective gear if you have access to some.
- Make sure the casualty’s airway is clear and is breathing. Apply the ABC’s of first aid. CAUTION: Casualty’s might get worse as they get warmer. As the freezing blood in the extremities begins to rush back toward the heart, the casualty’s body temperature might decrease. Be ready for a change in the casualty’s condition.
- Shift the casualty to warm, dry place.
- Call the ambulance for casualty’s that demonstrate signs of severe hypothermia such as
- Fumbling hands.
- Indistinct speech.
- Get rid of damp clothing – leave dry clothes on the casualty.
- Cover the casualty with blankets.
- Chemical heat packs can be utilized on the casualty’s armpits, neck, and groin.
- Casualty’s that are able to follow instructions and sit straight can drink hot, non-alcoholic drinks.
- As hypothermia develops, trembling stops in order for the body to preserve energy. A casualty with hypothermia that has stopped trembling might be getting worse rather than improving.
- Comatose hypothermia casualties might have serious medical problems. There are several causes that could lead to a coma.
- Casualties of cold exposure might also be experiencing frostbite.