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Lesson 12: Hypothermia Emergency Reference Guide p. 62-63 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Lesson 12: Hypothermia Emergency Reference Guide p. 62-63. Does it Have to be Cold to Get Hypothermia?. Objectives. Describe mechanisms of heat loss Define hypothermia List signs & symptoms Demonstrate emergency treatment for mild to severe hypothermia

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Lesson 12:Hypothermia Emergency Reference Guide p. 62-63


  • Describe mechanisms of heat loss

  • Define hypothermia

  • List signs & symptoms

  • Demonstrate emergency treatment for mild to severe hypothermia

  • Describe situations requiring evacuation

  • Describe methods for prevention

Myth or reality
Myth or Reality?

  • True or False?

    • 70F or below describes “cold” water

    • A living body always produces heat

    • Hypothermia is contagious, if one person has it, all should be treated

    • A patient with severe hypothermia complains of being cold

    • Wet clothing from rain/sweat can contribute to hypothermia

Key points
Key Points

  • Humans maintain normal temperature by:

    • Heat generated by metabolism

    • Heat gained by outside source (i.e. fire/sun)

    • Muscular activity, shivering/exercise

  • Heat is shed by:

    • Radiation from skin

    • Conduction via contact with cold surfaces

    • Convection: movement of air over skin

    • Evaporation of moisture from skin

    • Respiration

Key points cont d
Key Points (cont’d.)

  • Normal core temperature is 98.6F

  • Hypothermia occurs when core drops to point where muscle or brain function impaired

  • Hypothermia may be mild to severe

  • Does not have to be “cold” to become hypothermic

Signs symptoms for mild hypothermia
Signs/Symptoms for Mild Hypothermia

  • Shivering

  • “umbles”

    • Inability to perform tasks: “fumbles”

    • Confusion, apathy, sluggish, “grumbles”

    • Slurred speech, “mumbles”

    • Altered gait, “stumbles”

Signs symptoms for moderate hypothermia
Signs/Symptoms for Moderate Hypothermia

  • Worsening of the “umbles”

  • Uncontrollable or violent shivering

  • Confusion or unusual behavior

  • Impaired judgment

Care for mild to moderate hypothermia
Care for Mild to Moderate Hypothermia

  • Ways to warm up someone:

    • Change environment

    • Replace wet clothes

    • Move out of wind /cold into a sheltered area

    • Cover all exposed skin

    • Drink/eat simple carbohydrates. Digestion produces internal heat. Do not drink caffeine/alcohol

    • Insulate from ground

Care for mild to moderate hypothermia cont d
Care for Mild to Moderate Hypothermia (cont’d.)

  • Bundle in dry insulation

  • Snuggle with warm person

  • Place hot water bottle or chemical heat packs near patients heart and in armpits

  • If patient can exercise, encourage it to produce heat

  • Fluids are more important than solids:

    • Warm sweet drink best

    • Even cold drinks better than no fluids

  • Care for mild to moderate hypothermia cont d1
    Care for Mild to Moderate Hypothermia (cont’d.)

    • If patient goes to sleep, wake periodically to check condition

    • Patient with moderate hypothermia may “think” they are not cold. Watch for altered mental state/judgment

    • If patient can still move adequately, may resume activities after initial care

    • Wait until patient returns to normal perform preceding

    Signs symptoms of severe hypothermia
    Signs/Symptoms of Severe Hypothermia

    • Shivering stops

    • Muscle rigidity increases

    • Mental state worsens, stupor to coma

    • State of awareness: semi-conscious to unconscious

    • Pulse & respiration rate decrease, may be difficult to detect

    • Complaining stops

    Care for severe hypothermia
    Care for Severe Hypothermia

    • Handle gently, roughness can overload cold heart & stop it

    • If not breathing, perform rescue breathing (CPR) for at least 3 min. prior to moving

    • Start to warm patient, same as mild to moderate hypothermia

    • Warming too quickly/too much movement may cause cold blood from extremities to rush to heart & stop it

    Care for severe hypothermia cont d
    Care for Severe Hypothermia (cont’d.)

    • Use hypothermia wrap, vapor barrier to trap any heat inside:

      • Wrap patient in tent fly, sheet of plastic, etc.

      • Leave face exposed & monitor airway/breathing

    • Do not force food/liquids

    • Care for patient even, if they appear dead

    • Call for help immediately, do not evacuate, unless it can be done gently

    Guidelines for evacuation
    Guidelines for Evacuation

    • Mild & Moderate cases will likely recover, may remain in the field

    • GO FAST for severe cases. Evacuate with extreme care. Do not jostle the patient

    Preventing hypothermia
    Preventing Hypothermia

    • Far easier to maintain core temp than to regain it:

      • Prevent heat loss

      • Terminate exposure

      • Detect early warning signs & treat early

      • Replace wet clothes quickly

    • What you wear has major effect on preventing hypothermia

    Preventing hypothermia cont d
    Preventing Hypothermia (cont’d.)

    • Types of Clothing for Preventing Hypothermia

      • Silk, wool & synthetics designed to wick moisture away

      • Layers of clothing help you stay dry

      • Layers help regulate temperature better

      • Hats prevent heat loss through head (major source of loss)

        • If feet are cold, put on a hat

      • Protect hands & feet, change socks often

      • Rain gear/water proof boots

    Preventing hypothermia cont d1
    Preventing Hypothermia (cont’d.)

    • Avoid Cotton (traps moisture)

    • Maintain hydration

    • Avoid alcohol & caffeine

    • Eat regularly, especially carbohydrates

    • Stay active, but don’t over exert

    • Know the weather, be prepared for changing conditions

    Preventing hypothermia cont d2
    Preventing Hypothermia (cont’d.)

    • Terminate exposure early:

      • If you can’t stay warm/dry, get out of wind & rain

      • Set up camp early, before you are exhausted

    • Early Detection:

      • Watch yourself & others for behavior /exposure that can lead to hypothermia

      • Care for signs early, monitor others, if one has symptoms

      • Being cold affects judgment, believe the signs not the patient

    Questions what else could you add to your first aid kit
    Questions???What else could you add to your First Aid Kit?