In Canada, there has been a record of 8,000 deaths every year due to hypothermia. Hence, most cold injury victims are babies, older people, and those who stay outdoors for long periods. Also, people who are are using alcohol or drugs have a high risk of cold injury. Some signs of hypothermia include extreme shivering, fatigue, confusion, and slurred speech. Likewise, babies can have very low energy, and their skin is cold and bright red. For a hypothermia treatment, the first aid you can do at home is:
1. Get out of the cold.
The first thing to do is to stay away from exposure to extreme cold. Therefore, find a warm and dry place. By doing so, you are allowing the temperature to go back to normal. If you’re putting someone out of the cold, do it with gentleness.
2. Remove wet clothes.
Moreover, leaving the injured person in wet clothes will further harm them. Hence, if the person wears wet clothes, take them off. If removing it means a lot of movement, try to cut it off. Also, it will lessen the risk of cardiac arrest.
3. Warm the person.
In hypothermia, the body temp is below 35°C. Therefore, try to raise the temperature by:
- The use of dry blankets, coats, or fabrics to cover the injured is important. Let them breathe and leave the face exposed.
- Also, you can lay down the person’s back on a warm surface or bed.
- It is good to apply a warm compress. You can also make yours by filling up a bottle with warm water and wrap it with a cloth. Apply this compress to the neck and chest wall. However, do not put the compress on the arms and legs. If that happens, the core body temperature will drop. Above all, this situation is fatal.
Furthermore, do not rub the person’s skin or force movement. Also, do not put the person in a warm bath. It can cause irregular heartbeat.
4. Offer warm drinks.
When the person gains consciousness, give them something warm to drink. Hence, avoid giving a drink with alcohol or caffeine. As a result, it will add warmth to the body. Use warm, not hot water. Additionally, hot water or pads might make things worse for the injured.
Medical treatment for hypothermia includes:
5. Passive rewarming.
This treatment is like the one mentioned above. It is where patients have heated blankets on them. Also, they need warm drinks. therefore, it is for patients with mild hypothermia.
6. Blood rewarming.
To recover from having a hypothermia body temp, doctors use this practice. They draw, warm, and recirculate blood in the body.
7. Inject warm fluid in the blood.
A warm solution of saltwater goes into a vein to warm the blood.
8. Airway rewarming.
Through a mask or nasal tube, the patient breathes in the humidified oxygen. This treatment for hypothermia will raise body temperature.
In this treatment for hypothermia, the affected area receives a warm saline solution. Examples of body areas that are to receive it are the area around the lungs or the abdominal cavity.
Before doing a hypothermia treatment, call the emergency hotline. If the person is running out of breath or is not breathing, call someone who can perform CPR.
It is important to track body temperatures. Check it even after the patient has gained consciousness.
- Avoid going to cold places. Stay in a warm and dry place.
- Wear enough clothing. Wear 3-4 layers of clothes during winter. An exposed skin loses heat faster. If you are going outdoors, wear an outfit like gloves, socks, and boots. It is better to use water-proof boots.
- Ensure sources of heat. Babies and older people do not react fast in such situations. For this reason, they cannot recover. So, please do not leave them alone in a cold room. Using heaters will provide warmth.
- Use blankets. If you are asleep, you do not know that the temperature goes down. In a room that is not heated well, using a blanket will protect you from cold air.
- Move. Avoid being still for too long. Physical activity will raise the body temperature. But do not work too hard.
- Have a buddy. You might not perform the first aid by yourself. Having someone beside you adds to your safety.