Ways & How

How to Treat Hypothermia and Frostbite

How to Treat Hypothermia and Frostbite

Extremely low temperatures can cause hypothermia and frostbite. The former refers to a dangerously low body temperature, while the latter refers to damage to body tissues due to extreme cold. Symptoms include confusion, slurred speech, memory loss, exhaustion, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, numbness of hands and feet, shallow breathing and shivering. So, if you’re out in cold weather, dress warmly to combat the chill and stay active to maintain an ideal body temperature. In case you live in a cold region or enjoy winter sports or activities, it may prove useful to learn how to treat hypothermia and frostbite.

Treating hypothermia:

  1. Call 911 quickly if you suspect hypothermia.

  2. Bring the person indoors. Be very careful as the body is very fragile in this state.

  3. If their clothing is wet, change them into dry clothes.

  4. Restore warmth slowly, not rapidly. Start from the torso, not the extremities or you may cause shock.



    Moreover, rapid warming can lead to heart arrhythmia and be fatal. Don’t immerse the person in warm water.

  5. Warm the person with blankets.

  6. Use hot water bottles or chemical warmers wrapped in towels. Do not place them directly on the skin.

  7. If the person is conscious, give them a warm drink. No alcohol or caffeinated drinks however.

  8. Maintain the body temperature of the person once it begins to rise. Wrap their head and neck in blankets too.

  9. Closely monitor the person’s breathing. Perform CPR if they are not or have stopped breathing. Continue until they begin breathing again or until health care providers arrive.

  10. Once the person is transported to the hospital, the health care facility will provide intravenous fluid support, warmth, oxygen and other necessary medications and treatment.

Treating frostbite:
  1. Call 911 quickly.

  2. Handle the frostbitten areas gently.

  3. Warm the affected areas by soaking them in warm water with a temperature of 100 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

  4. With dry, sterile dressing, loosely bandage the frostbitten areas.

  5. If the toes and fingers are affected, put dry, sterile gauze between them to keep them separated.

  6. Don’t break any blisters that may have formed.

Once the person is transported to a health care facility, the doctors will administer necessary treatments, such as antibiotics, a tetanus shot and medications like vasodilators to widen the blood vessels, and observe the patient to determine whether amputation is necessary. Fortunately, early treatment can dramatically decrease the risk of amputation, which is one major reason why it’s important to treat frostbite properly before the person reaches the hospital.

As both frostbite and hypothermia are health emergencies, can lead to complications and cause serious conditions, and even prove fatal in some instances, knowing how to treat hypothermia and frostbite can save lives.

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