STAGES OF HYPOTHERMIA:
98.6F – Normal
97F – Brain fails; judgment fails; protective and survival instincts fade.
96F – Shivering begins as a constant (uncontrollable) fine motor tremor.
94F – Shivering increases, coordination fails, tripping and falling begin.
92F – Shivering becomes intense; patient is unable to walk.
90F – Shivering becomes convulsive, fetal position is adopted; patient is unable to talk.
86F & below – “Metabolic Icebox”: unconscious, ashen gray, may appear pulseless/breathless.
Remove from immediate danger and further exposure.
GET DRY & KEEP DRY. Insulate with hypothermia wrap.
Give warm, sweet liquids – Jell-O if conscious.
Click on the image below to see a hypothermia wrap.
The Hypothermia Wrap – “The Human Burrito”
Remove wet or damp clothing.
Insulate with multiple layers of dry material, clothing, blankets, sleeping bags.
Cover and insulate their head with a warm hat.
Super-insulate their feet and add chemical heat packs if you have them.
Insulate from the ground with ensolate pads.
Surround with a windproof & waterproof layer.
Know your enemy:
Be prepared for wet, wind, and cold.
Wear fabrics that stay warm when wet (NO COTTON!).
Stay dry. Stay well HYDRATED.
Snack often on quick-burning carbohydrates – sugar.
Carry bivouac gear and know how to use it.
Be attentive to yourself, to your companions, and to the environment.
Do not tolerate the cold or cold extremities.
React early & quickly.
For more detailed information on Hypothermia see the Jan/Feb 2004 issue, When Jack Frost Bites, and the Nov/Dec 2004 issue, Frozen Mythbusters, of the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter. Click on this link to learn more about or subscribe to the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter.
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