How to Prevent Hypothermia
Primary treatments for hypothermia are methods to warm the body back to a normal temperature. These preventive measures are the key to avoiding hypothermia.
Staying Warm in Cold Weather
Make sure you or your children follow these basic guidelines before venturing outside in the cold: COLD – cover, overexertion, layering, and drying:
- Cover. Protect your head, face, and neck from the cold by wearing a hat or other headgear. Instead of gloves, wear mittens to keep your hands warm.
- Overexertion. Don’t engage in activities that make you sweat excessively. When you’re wearing damp clothes and it’s cold outside, you’re more likely to lose heat.
- Layers. Dress in layers of loose-fitting, light clothing. Wind protection is best achieved with closely woven, water-repellent outerwear. Cotton does not hold body heat, as well as wool, silk, or polypropylene, does.
- Dry. Keep yourself as dry as you can at all times. Wearing wet clothing might be dangerous. The snow can easily sneak into your mittens and boots. Be extra careful with your hands and feet.
Wear Proper Clothing
The easiest actions you can take involve the things you put on your body, such as clothing. On days when it is cold, dress in layers, even if you do not believe it to be particularly cold outside. It is far simpler to rid oneself of layers of clothing than it is to fight against the cold. During the winter, it is important to keep all exposed skin covered and to wear appropriate headgear, gloves, and scarves. Also, be careful if you exercise outside on cold days. While sweating can help you cool down, it also makes your body more vulnerable to hypothermia.
Staying dry is also important. Avoid swimming for extended periods of time, and always make sure you dress in water-resistant gear while it’s raining or snowing outside to avoid getting wet. If you are involved in a boating accident and you find yourself in the water, you should make every effort to remain as dry as possible inside or on the boat. Stay on land until you see someone come to aid you.
It’s crucial to maintain a healthy body temperature if you want to avoid hypothermia. Hypothermia can be avoided if the body’s temperature is maintained at a normal level. Even if you have no signs of hypothermia, you should seek medical attention if your temperature drops below 95°F.
Use the Buddy System
Use the “buddy system” when participating in any outdoor activity that could lead to hypothermia, such as bushwalking or mountaineering. Because of your state of mind, you may be unable to recognise the signs of hypothermia in yourself. Training in first aid is strongly recommended.
How to Treat Hypothermia?
A medical emergency exists when someone has hypothermia. If you or someone you know may be suffering from hypothermia, you should dial 911 or your local emergency hotline as soon as possible. Treatment for hypothermia focuses on bringing the patient’s core temperature back up to within the normal range. While the injured individual or their caregiver waits for emergency care, there are a few things that can be done to improve the condition, including the following:
Handle the person with care.
Take special care of the affected individual. In an effort to get the circulation flowing again, you shouldn’t massage them. Any movements that are overly strenuous or violent have the potential to induce cardiac arrest. They need to be moved or protected from the cold.
Take off the soaking clothes of the person.
Remove the person’s wet clothes. If it is absolutely required, cut them off so that the individual is not moved. Wrap a warm blanket around them from head to toe, including their faces, but avoid covering their mouths. If there are no blankets available, your body heat can be used to warm the items. If they are conscious, try to give them warm drinks or soup because these things can help to raise the body temperature.
Apply warm compresses.
Warm (not hot) dry compresses, such as a warmed water bottle or a warmed towel, should be applied to the patient. The chest, neck, and groin should be the only places the compresses are used. Compresses should not be used on the arms or legs, and neither should a heating pad or lamp be used. The cold blood will be pushed back towards the heart, lungs, and brain if a compress is applied to these locations. Burning skin or cardiac arrest can result from temperatures that are excessively high.
Monitor the person’s breathing.
Keep an eye on the individual’s breathing. If the person appears to be breathing dangerously slowly or if they lose consciousness, you should administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if you have been trained to do so.
Warm fluids, such as saline, are injected into the veins to treat severe hypothermia. In this treatment, the blood is drawn, heated, and then returned to the body by a doctor. Masks and nasal tubes can also be used to re-warm the airways. It is also possible to warm the stomach by using a cavity lavage, or stomach pump in which a warm saltwater solution is pumped into the stomach.
What Are Other Treatments for Hypothermia?
Hypothermia is a potentially life-threatening condition that needs emergency medical attention. If medical care isn’t immediately available:
- Do not wear damp clothing, including caps and gloves. Remove shoes and socks.
- Warm, dry clothing and blankets should be used to shield the person from the wind and protect them from drafts and further heat loss.
- As quickly as possible, seek cover in a warm and dry place.
- Wear extra garments to the person to begin rewarming them. Use a lot of blankets. The body, armpits, neck, and groyne can be warmed with an electric blanket and hot packs and heating pads; however, they can cause burns to the skin. Consider using your own body temperature if there is no other source of warmth at hand.
- If a thermometer is available, take the patient’s temperature.
- Avoid serving alcoholic or caffeinated beverages, which can cause a rapid loss of body heat. Do not attempt to administer fluids to someone who is unconscious.
Immediately seek aid if the hypothermic person is unconscious or has no pulse or breathing signals. If a pulse or signs of breathing can’t be found, start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) right away. Before beginning CPR, check the victim’s pulse for up to a minute to ensure it isn’t abnormally slow. If you detect a heartbeat, do not perform CPR.
Once paramedics arrive or the patient is transferred to a hospital, CPR should be performed until help arrives.
In cases of severe hypothermia, hospitalisation is required to rewarm the core. The therapy of hypothermia may involve the administration of warmed intravenous fluids, heated and humidified oxygen, peritoneal lavage (internal “cleaning” of the abdominal cavity), and other methods. During recuperation, complications might include pneumonia, heart arrhythmias, ventricular fibrillation (a dangerous “fluttering” heart rhythm), cardiac arrest (sudden cessation of the heartbeat), and death.
Anyone exhibiting symptoms of hypothermia needs immediate medical attention. Dial 911 if you believe someone is suffering from hypothermia.