Enough for You?
Cold Related Illness and
When your body loses heat faster than it
can produce it, a situation may occur where all of your body's
energy is used up trying to produce heat.The result is
hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature.
Victims of hypothermia are most often
elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating; babies
sleeping in cold bedrooms; and people who remain outdoors for long
periods -- the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.
Each person is affected differently by the
cold. Wet and cold can bring hypothermia on rapidly, or long
exposure to the cold, rain, and wind can bring the symptoms of
hypothermia on slowly.
occurs when the core body temperature is between 98.6° and 96°F.
The core temperature for moderate hypothermia is 95° to 93°F.
If your core temperature reaches 92° or below, you are in a
life-threatening situation. This condition will affect your heart
rate, blood flow, and ability to think clearly.
Immediate attention is necessary.
Signs and Symptoms of hypothermia:
red, cold skin
If you believe you or someone else is
suffering from hypothermia, it is imperative to get to a warm room
or shelter and call for help. While you wait for help to arrive,
remove any wet clothing and warm the center of the victim's body
first. An electric blanket works well if one is available.
Skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets,
clothing, towels, or sheets may also be effective. Drinking warm
beverages -- NOT ALCOHOL -- will also help increase the body
temperature. Once the body temperature has increased, keep the
victim dry and wrapped in a warm blanket including the head and
neck until help arrives.
If the victim is
suffering from severe hypothermia, he or she may be unconscious
and may not seem to have a pulse or appear to be breathing. In
this case, you need to handle the victim gently, and get
emergency assistance immediately.
Frostbite is an
injury to the skin and sometimes the deeper tissues of the body
due to freezing or formation of ice crystals in the tissue
cells. Frostbite usually develops when the air temperature is
below -12°C (10°F), but may occur at a temperature nearer
the freezing point (0°C/32°F) when other elements, such as high
winds, dampness, or general chilling of the body, are present.
Hands, feet, noses, and ears are the most likely body parts to
be affected. Most often, the condition may be painful, but is
not usually serious. However, severe untreated frostbite may
result in gangrene.
You can avoid frostbite by staying out
of the extreme cold. If you do have to go out, wear clothing to
protect your face, nose, ears, fingers, and toes. Also, wiggling
your fingers and toes frequently will help keep the blood
flowing to these areas of your body. If you begin to loose
feeling in your fingers and toes, or they begin to tingle, or
feel painful, go inside and warm up.Signs and symptoms of
- A "pins and needles" sensation,
followed by numbness
- Hard, pale, cold skin
How to treat frostbite:
If you suspect you have frostbite, it is
important to get indoors or to a warm shelter as soon as
possible. Take off any constricting jewelry or wet clothing.
Immerse the affected area of your body in warm -- NOT HOT --
water, or apply warm cloths to affected areas of your ears,
nose, or cheeks for 20-30 minutes. When your tissue has been
thoroughly warmed, the skin will be soft and sensation will
return. You should not use a heating pad, heat lamp, or the heat
from a stove, fireplace, or radiator to warm yourself. Because
you do not have any sensation in these areas of your body, they
may burn easily and you would not feel it. Try to move the area
of your body that is affected as little as possible. This helps
decrease the damage to the affected area.
For further information, contact:
Emergicare Medical Training