Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a condition produced by a below-normal body temperature. If left untreated, it can lead to loss of consciousness, cardiac arrest, and death. While hypothermia is most often associated with cold temperatures, it can also occur in mild temperatures if someone becomes wet and exhausted.

What to look for:

  • Shivering;
  • Uncoordinated movements;
  • Drowsiness, weakness, or loss of consciousness.

If you think that you or someone you’re with has hypothermia, Call 911 or go to an emergency facility immediately. If awaiting medical help, treat as follows:

  • Check the victim’s ABCs: Lift the victim’s chin to open the Airway, check for their Breathing capability, and check for Circulation, a pulse; if the person is not breathing or does not have a pulse or heartbeat, begin CPR;
  • NOTE: Hypothemia victims often have very weak, slow pulses, so take extra time and care to check for the pulse;
  • Gently carry or lead the victim to shelter; if the person’s clothes are wet, change him or her into dry clothing;
  • Gradually warm the victim –
    • cover the head and neck;
    • use your own body heat, blankets or aluminum foil;
    • place warm compresses on the neck, chest and groin;
    • do not use any form of direct heat, such as an electric blanket.

If the victim is conscious and can swallow, give sips of a warm, sweetened, nonalcoholic beverage.

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