Protect Yourself and Your Family from Hypothermia
Fall is here and that means winter is right around the corner. Temperatures will undoubtedly take a nosedive, wind gusts will prevail, and sleet and snow are in the forecast. That’s why you need to protect yourself and your family from hypothermia and frost bite.
Did you know that your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced, when you are exposed to cold temperatures? What’s more, prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy, and you could get hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature.
Having a body temperature that is too low affects the brain and could cause you to be unable to think clearly or move well. You or your loved one may not be aware that this is happening and you won’t be able to do anything about it.
Although hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, it can happen even at temperatures that are cool (above 40°F), especially if you become chilled from rain, sweat, or having been submersed in cold water.
Who’s most at risk for hypothermia?
- Elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating.
- Babies who sleep in cold bedrooms
- People who stay outdoors for long periods, such as the homeless, hikers, hunters.
- People who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.
Warning signs of hypothermia in Adults:
- Shivering, exhaustion
- Confusion, fumbling hands
- Memory loss
- Slurred speech
Warning Signs of hypothermia in Infants:
- Bright red, cold skin
- Very low energy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that if you see any of these signs do the following:
- Take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95°, this is an emergency. Seek medical attention immediately.
If medical care is not available, begin warming the person by doing the following:
- Put the victim into a warm room or shelter.
- Remove wet clothing.
- Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin—using an electric blanket, if available. Or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
- Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature.
- Do not give alcoholic beverages. Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person.
- After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.
- Get medical attention as soon as possible.
A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious and may not seem to have a pulse or to be breathing. If this is the case, handle the victim gently, and get emergency assistance immediately. Even if the victim appears dead, CPR should be provided. CPR should continue while the victim is being warmed, until the victim responds or medical aid becomes available. In some cases, hypothermia victims who appear to be dead can be successfully resuscitated, according to the CDC.
- Posted by admin
- On February 3, 2017