Hypothermia First Aid

Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition in which the body temperature drops to dangerous levels. It often occurs when exposed to cold elements without adequate protection. Children and the elderly are most at risk of experience hypothermia during exposure.

 

How do I know if I have hypothermia?

  • Shivering
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Exhaustion
  • Slurred and mumbled speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slow, weak pulse
  • Cold-to-touch, bright red skin
  • Unusually low energy
  • Temperature of 95˚F or lower

 

How can I prevent hypothermia?

  • When out in the wilderness follow these tips to prevent hypothermia:
  • Keep an emergency kit with you.
  • Know where shelter is.
  • Avoid touching metal when it’s cold as this will only make you colder.
  • Eat high calorie foods to help maintain your body heat.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages.
  • Do not use caffeine or smoke when in the cold.
  • Wear proper clothing and keep extra clothing and blankets in a car.
  • Wear mittens and socks meant to retain warmth and remove moisture.
  • Keep children well covered, do not allow them to overexert themselves, dress them in layers and keep them dry.

 

How can I treat hypothermia?

  • Call 911 immediately, before administering first aid.
  • Remove wet clothes including hats, gloves, shoes and socks.
  • Move the person to a warm area safe from winds and drafts.
  • Cover with warm and dry clothes and blankets.
  • Rewarm slowly, use clothes, an electric blanket, or hot packs.
  • If there is no pulse, administer CPR immediately. Continue even if there are no signs of life.
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