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Must-Know Facts About Hypothermia

Written by Courteney

Posted on January 12, 2017 at 1:45 am

Whether you are not used to spending time in the cold or you’re a long-time cold warrior, you can still be affected by deadly hypothermia if temperatures drop too low and you spend time outside unprotected. Let’s take a look some key facts about hypothermia so you’ll know just how to avoid this winter danger:

  1. The process of hypothermia begins when the body cannot produce more heat than it loses (usually when the body’s temperature drops below 95’F).
  2. Hypothermia isn’t only a freezing weather danger – it can happen in temperatures as high as 50’F!
  3. Hypothermia often results from a culmination of cold temperatures, wind and wet weather or clothing.
  4. Alcohol can speed up the process of hypothermia as it tricks the body into feeling warm inside. In actuality, alcohol dilates the blood vessels causing the body to lose heat more rapidly.
  5. Dehydration can also contribute to hypothermia as the body is weaker and will become cold quicker while warming up slower.
  6. When body temperature drops too low, it systematically starts shutting down processes (and organs) in an attempt to conserve energy.
  7. Hypothermia is so dangerous because the victim will progressively become more confused, sleepy and immobile and may not even realize what is happening to them until it is too late to act on it.
  8. Symptoms of mild hypothermia include: shivering and confusion. Symptoms may then progress to slow shallow breathing, extreme drowsiness, bluish lips or skin, weak or irregular pulse and eventually bouts of unconsciousness.
  9. If you suspect someone is succumbing to hypothermia DO call for medical help and try to get them to a warm location asap. Lay them down horizontally and replace any wet clothing with dry clothing. Cover the person in blankets, towels or whatever material you can find. Try to get them to drink (non-alcoholic) hot liquids and consume high-energy foods if possible.
  10. If you suspect someone has hypothermia DO NOT: massage their limbs or put them in a hot bath as the blood vessels may dilate too quickly and cause blood pressure to drop fatally low.

Tips to Avoid Hypothermia

  • Dress warmly if you are spending any time outside in cold weather.
  • Always wear a warm hat (as much of your body’s heat escapes through your head).
  • Wear layers (with a wool innermost layer to trap heat but not sweat).
  • Carry a knapsack equipped with: extra clothing such as mittens, under garments and an extra jacket or sweatshirt (in case you get wet or cold), instant hand and foot warmers (you can by them for less than a dollar per pair) and high-energy foods like protein bars.
  • Don’t consume alcohol or caffeine or nicotine when in the cold.
  • Make sure you pack first aid materials in case of a potential emergency.
  • Bring a cell phone so you won’t be stranded for long.

So, there you have it – a hypothermia prevention guide! Thanks for visiting DocChat, be sure to drop back soon for more useful tips.

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