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HYPOTHERMIA


01/11/21
               

Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. A temperature below 95⁰F is a medical emergency.  When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work normally.

Signs and symptoms of hypothermia:

  • Slurred speech or mumbling
  • Clumsiness or lack of coordination
  • Drowsiness or very low energy
  • Confusion or memory loss
  • A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious. Handle that person gently and call 9-1-1.
  • Someone with hypothermia may not be aware of their condition because the symptoms often begin gradually.
  • Specific conditions that can lead to hypothermia:
  • Wearing clothes that aren’t warm enough for the conditions.
  • Staying out in the cold too long.

Being unable to get out of wet clothes or move to a warm, dry place.

  • Living in a house that’s too cold.
  • Falling into water.
  • Risk Factors:
  • Certain medical conditions
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Exhaustion
  • Being an infant or older adult
  • Medications
  • Inadequate food intake and dehydration
  • Prevention:
  • Cover your body, especially your head, face, neck and hands.
  • Avoid activities that can cause you to sweat a lot.
  • Wear loose-fitting, layered clothing.
  • Stay as dry as possible. Get out of wet clothing as soon as possible.
  • Eat well-balanced meals and stay hydrated. Don’t drink alcohol if you plan to be outdoors in cold weather.

Treatment:

Hypothermia is a medical emergency.  If you notice any of the above symptoms, take the person’s temperature.  If it is below 95⁰F, call 9-1-1.  Handle that person gently.

For mild cases of hypothermia:

  • Get the person into a warm room.
  • Remove any wet clothing.
  • Warm the center of the person’s body, their core (chest, neck, head, and groin), with dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
  • Drink warm fluids, but do not give alcoholic drinks. Do not try to give beverages to someone who is unconscious or can’t swallow.
  • Keep the person warm and dry.
  • Get proper medical attention as soon as possible.

 

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