Ways & How

how to treat hypothermia

how to treat hypothermia

Hypothermia is one of the regular causes of death in the United States. When the body temperature drops and the heat loss is higher than the body can generate, this fatal condition can occur. Being wet in a freezing cold and windy environment can lead to this situation when prolonged. Rescuers are normally trained to facilitate first-aid to people who are accidentally trapped in this condition, but it is ideal for anyone concerned to know what to do when confronted by the situation. Here are some procedures on how to treat hypothermia:

  1. Examine the affected person and be vigilant with the indications of hypothermia; shivering, garbled speech, confusion, memory loss, drowsiness, hand fumbling, dilated pupils, or pale skin. Also watch for other signs like a change in mood, irritability, or lethargy.  If you know the person, test their motor controls. Ask them to zip up their coat.  If they are not able to do so as before, hypothermia may already be setting in. Assist the patient without panicking to do a better job.

  2. Do not waste time in applying remedies.

    top heat loss immediately by getting out of the cold. Change the victim’s wet clothes. Warm the person's chest, neck, head, and groin. Make body-to-body contact under loose and dry layers of blankets.  If the person is conscious, administering room-temperature drinks like tea, juices, or water is acceptable. Just don’t provide alcoholic or caffeinated beverages because this can lead to more severe hypothermia or dehydration.

  3. Monitor the pulse and breathing while continuing the treatment. Start CPR if you are certified and the victim is unconscious. Ask someone to call for medical help before CPR. Like in any CPR procedure, mention the name of the person who will be the one calling for help. This is to give authority and responsibility to that person that will motivate him or her to find a quicker means to get help. Find a sunny spot if you are outdoors. Make a shelter when there’s no sunlight.

  4. Provide a lukewarm bath if possible especially indoors. A hot bath is not advisable. Give more sweetened drinks because they can heat up the body. Use heaters and blankets if you are dealing with an unconscious victim. Continue to monitor the pulse and breathing even more frequently if the victim is conscious. Do not stop giving CPR until the unconscious patient regains consciousness or a pulse is obtained at the least.

  5. Transport the victim to a medical facility as soon as possible. You can save lives through first-aid, but the patient will need proper medical attention in a well-equipped medical facility. Leave the patient to the care of a medical practitioner after doing your part.

  6. Be watchful with hypothermia’s reoccurrence because it can happen again to people with a history of the condition even when not outdoors in a chilly forest. Setting the air-conditioning too low at home will put the elderly and infants at risk for hypothermia. Some medical conditions can make anyone vulnerable to hypothermia also. They affect the body's ability to adjust its temperature. Thyroid problems, anorexia nervosa, stroke, injury, or nerve damage caused by diabetes are diseases included in the priority list that trigger hypothermia.

Drug use, alcohol, illegal drugs, sedatives and some antipsychotic medicines are also affecting the body's ability to control temperature. The body's ability to sense cold and control temperature lessens with age. The elderly are more likely to be prone to hypothermia even when not in challenging environments. Ample care is needed. Be equipped with the knowledge on how to treat hypothermia especially when living with people belonging to the high-risk group.


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