Hypothermia: Signs & First Aid For This Life Threatening Medical Condition
Hypothermia is a medical condition in which the body will lose heat faster than producing it to maintain the normal body temperature. The body temperature goes below 35 degrees Celsius or 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposure to very cold weather or body immersed in very cod water for a long time are the main reasons to cause hypothermia. Always remember, if left untreated, hypothermia can prove to be fatal.
Below are the steps for the first aid for a person who has hypothermia:
Immediately remove the wet clothing.
If it is difficult or not possible to move a person indoors to a warmer environment then try to make sure that the victim’s head and neck is protected from the wind.
Try to keep the victim away from cold or wet surface or ground.
Wrap the patient between warm thick cloth like blankets or towels or even newspapers to make the body temperature of the patient rise gradually.
Body to body heat also helps in providing warmth.
DO NOT use hot water bottle or any other material to apply on the patient body to re-warm on any body part.
Make sure the patient’s head is covered and not wet.
Provide warm and sweet drinks, but should be non-caffeine or non-alcoholic only if the patient is consciousness and not convulsing.
If the victim is not breathing or is not showing any movement, then begin CPR.
Important – Immediately contact the nearest hospital or seek medical help if the condition is life threatening.
Signs and symptoms of hypothermia:
Light to major shivering (although the shivering stops as body temperature starts to drop to normal)
Mumbling while speaking or slurred speech
Breathing is shallow and slow
Lack of bodily coordination
Feeling of drowsiness
Confusion and/or memory loss
Loss of consciousness
Cold skin, and bright red in colour (symptom in infants)
Points to be kept in mind:
Since it is an extremely serious condition, the patient should be transferred to a hospital as soon as possible.
Sometimes when a patient in hypothermia appearing to be dead have been resuscitated successfully, as the extreme cold makes the body very slow.
Please Note – This tutorial does not substitute a formal training in Basic Life Saving Procedures or First Aid Procedures given by a licensed practitioner.
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