Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it is produced. This causes a dangerously low body temperature. Hypothermia typically happens when a person is exposed to extremely low temperatures for an extended amount of time. Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees; however, when hypothermia sets in, the core temperature drops below 95 degrees. When the body temperature drops below 82 degrees, severe hypothermia occurs.
In order to prevent hypothermia, follow theses tips: 1. Dress in several layers of loose, warm clothing, 2. Wear a hat or headband that covers your ears, 3. Wear socks that wick moisture and provide insulation, 4. When traveling in cold weather, carry emergency supplies, 5. Keep moving to keep blood flowing and help stay warm.
When hypothermia sets in, shivering, shallow breathing, confusion, exhaustion, slurred speech, loss of coordination, a slow pulse or unconsciousness may occur. Immediately move the person into a warm, dry location if possible. Remove any wet clothing and replace with warm, dry clothes and blankets. Try to warm the person with extra clothes or blankets. If possible, place an electric blanket, hot packs, heating pad or warm water bottle on the person's torso, armpits, neck and groin. If the person is conscious, offer them warm liquids without caffeine or alcohol.
If a person is unconscious or there are no signs of a pulse or breathing, call 9-1-1 immediately. If you are trained in CPR, begin chest compressions immediately. If possible, switch off with a partner every two minutes. Perform CPR until medical help arrives.
If a person has symptoms of hypothermia, seek medical attention. If you believe a person has severe hypothermia, call 9-1-1 immediately.