Brrr! How to recognize and treat hypothermia!
Living in New York means enduring harsh winters, including snow, freezing wind and icy sidewalks. To protect yourself from serious injury, it’s important to recognize the signs and symptoms of HYPOTHERMIA.
Protect yourself – what you need to know!
What is Hypothermia?
Hypothermia is a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body loses too much heat. It can be fatal.
Who’s at Risk?
- Everyone can experience hypothermia with prolonged exposure to cold weather.
- Even if the weather is NOT cold, a person can STILL get hypothermia if they are wet, wearing wet clothing or exposed to wind.
- Children, the Elderly and People with Poor Circulation are especially at risk.
Signs and Symptoms:
A patient experiencing hypothermia may:
- become drowsy; indifferent; disoriented or confused.
- develop a “glassy stare.”
- start shivering, but shivering may stop as the body temperature decreases… if a patient stops shivering, this may be a sign that she needs immediate medical care.
- The person may stop responding or need CPR (a 9-1-1 operator can tell you how to give CPR).
Treatment Do’s and Don’ts
- Call 9-1-1
- Move the person to a warmer place.
- Remove wet clothing and dry the person (remember that wet skin worsens hypothermia!)
- Help the person warm up gradually by helping him put on dry clothing (including a hat, gloves and socks) and wrapping him in a blanket.
- If you notice Frostbite – provide gentle treatment [click here to learn how to treat frostbite].
- Don’t pour hot water on him or throw him into a hot bath or shower. (This can be dangerous! – rapidly re-warming a hypothermic victim can cause dangerous heart rhythms! Remember to warm the patient gradually).
- Don’t give him alcohol or coffee. (Instead, try small sips of a warm beverage like broth or water).
Empower yourself with real knowledge on how to respond to an emergency – Take a CPR or First Aid Class Today!
Visit www.frontlinehealth.com or call 212-983-5389
Note: The outline above is not a substitute for formal instruction. Please visit www.frontlinehealth.com for more information on taking a full First Aid CPR AED Course.