Recognizing hypothermia stages

15 April 2008

Mild early signs

• When the body can no longer maintain its core temperature by constricting blood vessels it shivers

• Blue lips and fingers

• Poor coordination

Moderate stage

• Mental impairment

• Confusion

• Poor decision making

• Disorientation

• Heart slows down

• Slow breathing

• Inability to take precautions from the cold


• In severe cases, hypothermia resembles death. Treat patients as though they are alive

• No breathing

• Unconsciousness

• No shivering

• Irregular or hard to find heartbeat

Hypothermia first-aid

• Carefully move the person to shelter

• Keep the person awake

• Call for medical help

• Remove wet clothing; wrap the person in warm covers

• Re-warm the person's neck, chest and abdomen, but not extremities

• Monitor the person's breathing and administer arti. cial respiration if necessary

• If the person is conscious, offer sips of warm, sweet drinks

Frostbite warning signs

• Gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness or waxy feeling skin

• Seek medical attention

• Do not rub skin but do apply gradual body heat

• Apply sterile bandage to blisters


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