Hypothermia is defined as a body core temperature ( 98.6 degrees F. or 35.0 degrees C. ) significantly below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body function.
Signs of hypothermia: Even though signs can develop slowly, people with hypothermia typically experience gradual loss of mental clarity and physical ability. They may not be aware that they need assistance or medical treatment. People who are very lean are at particular risk. People who has consumed a large amount of alcohol or people who have not eaten properly are also at risk.
Symptoms of hypothermia: Uncontrolled shivering, slurred speech, abnormally slow breathing, cold pale skin, loss or coordination, fatigue, lethargic and confusion or memory loss.
Avoidance: Dress warmly, in layers. Having an air space between the body and the outer layer of clothing will help retain body heat. Use clothing made of cotton or wool that will insulate your body and allow sweat to evaporate. If possible, keep dry. Wetness increases the chance of cold stress on the body. Eat right, don’t work alone and take breaks as needed.
First aid: call 911 and while waiting for assistance to arrive, monitor the person’s breathing. If breathing should stop immediately start CPR. Move the person out of the cold. If no indoors are available, shield the person from the wind and insulate the person from the cold ground. If possible remove any wet clothing and replace with dry, warm clothing. Note: Don’t apply direct heat, i.e. hot water or a heating pad. Apply warm compresses to the center of the body, head, neck, chest and groin area. Do not apply heat to the arms or legs as this will force cold blood back towards the heart, lungs and brain. This could be fatal. Don’t rub or massage anywhere on the body because any portion of the body could be frostbitten. Rubbing frostbitten parts of the body can cause severe damage. Frostbite is caused when fluids around the body’s tissues freeze. This will cause coldness and tingling in the affected part. Numbness, changes in skin color such as grayish-yellow hue will become prevalent. There will be initial pain which will subside as the condition worsens. There is a chance blisters will occur. Frostbite can cause irreversible tissue damage which requires immediate medical attention.