Wet clothing and wind are a lethal combination that chill a person more rapidly. Changing into dry clothing can be the most important first step in the first aid of all cold victims.
Mild Hypothermia- the core temperature of the body will range from 95 to 91 degrees Fahrenheit. Signs of mild hypothermia include cold, pale and blue-gray skin, shivering, uncharacteristic behavior such as slurred speech, lethargy, poor judgement and confusion.
Severe Hypothermia- the core temperature of the body falls below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. To practical way to differentiate between mild and servere hypothermia is to classify victims as shivering and non-shivering. A victim who is responsive and shivering is mildly hypothermia while a barely conscious victim who is no longer shivering is severely hypothermia. Other symptoms include: stiff muscles and uncoordinated movement, weak, slow, irregular pulse, slow breathing and coma.
What to do:
- Reduce further heat loss. Remove wet or freezing clothing and dress the victim in dry clothing. Put the victim in a sleeping bag or wrap with blankets and insulate the person from the cold ground.
- Provide heat to the victim's trunk during the first hslf hour after rescue by whatever means are available" body-to-body contact, hot water bottles, chemical heating pads, etc. Place heat soources in the groin and armpits and alongside the neck.
- Cover the victim's head with a wool cap to reduce heat loss.
- Provide warm, sweet liquids when he or she is able to drink. Hypothermia victims are often dehydrated and their energy is depleted.
Call 9-1-1 whenever a person is determined to be unresponsive. Monitor breathing and be prepared to provide CPR.