Hypothermia: Symptoms & Treatment
Hypothermia is a health condition that can occur in any season. Sports minded people are well aware of the symptoms of hypothermia and the deadly risk it could have on a victim as the body temperature drops and a downward spiral demands immediate treatment.
The vascular system of the body allows blood to carry oxygen to the other systems of the body that is greatly affected when hypothermia is eminent or present. Immersion in icy or extremely cold water suddenly drops the body temperature from the normal 98.6 to a dangerous range. In 5 to less than 15 minutes in extreme cold conditions, hypothermia is present. When shivering is present the body uses more oxygen sometimes quickly changing the skin color.
How to detect symptoms of hypothermia:
2. Slurred, high pitched constant speech and then victim becomes non verbal.
3. Skin color change. Nail beds are pale or blue.
4. Inability to walk, stand or sit still
5. Involuntary muscle spasms
6. Inappropriate body or personality actions. Erratic behavior could include removal of clothing.
7. Stark personality changes
8. Irregular heart rate or fatal heart rhythm
10.Unexplained fatigue or extreme agitation.
11.Victim isolates themselves to a secluded spot
12.Body temperature of 88 degrees
Conditions that can lead to hypothermia
1. Hiking at high altitudes, even with proper clothing, body heat loss can occur. A risk of hypothermia can be a threat from perspiration created by damp or wet clothing.
2. Exposure to cold weather conditions can create frostbite which is a risk for a victim to get hypothermia.
3. Existing injures or medical conditions pose a health concern. The body immune system is compromised by those health conditions leading to a risk of hypothermia.
5. Alcohol consumption
6. Wet or even damp clothing
7. Lack of healthy food in the stomach for a duration of 3 to 4 hours can be a risk factor for hypothermia . Adequate nourishment can sustain and ward off hypothermia since food remains in the stomach for 4 to 6 hours.
First aid treatment for hypothermia
1. Be alert to symptoms for quick response to immediately restore body heat.
2. Remove all wet or damp clothing. Replace with dry, warm clothing.
3. Secure a warm place out of the cold weather for victim until shivering subsides.
4. When victim does not respond within several seconds remove clothing from a person who is not suffering from hypothermia. Give victim body contact to elevate body temperature while covering both in blanket, jacket or other clothing to prevent body heat from escaping .
5. Give water to drink only when victim is fully conscious.
6. Check nail beds on hand for blood return using capillary refill test. Press the nail bed until all color is gone. Immediately release pressure; hold hand above heart and count one one hundred, two one hundred to see natural color return.
By knowing the symptoms of hypothermia a person's health condition can be restored in minutes with quick first aid treatment.