The only difference between adventure and disaster is preparedness.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

First Aid for Hypothermia Victims

From Washington State Parks Boating Program:

1.  Make sure the victim has an open airway and is able to breathe.  Then, check for respiration and pulse.  Respiration may be slow and shallow and the pulse may be very weak.  So check these vital signs very carefully.  If there is no pulse or respiration, CPR must be started immediately.

2.  Prevent further heat loss:
     a.  Gently move the victim to shelter and warmth as rapidly as possible.
     b.  Gently remove all wet clothing, cut it away if necessary.  The small amount of heat energy        the victim has left must not be expended on warming and drying wet clothing.
     c.  Wrap the victim in blankets or a sleeping bag.  If available, place warm water bottles or other gentle sources of heat under the blanket on the victim's neck, groin, and on the sides of the chest.

3.  Transport the victim to a hospital as soon as possible.  Only a physician should determine when a patient should be released.  Incorrect treatment of hypothermia victims may induce a condition known as After-Drop.  After-Drop is a continued fall in the victim's core temperature even after they have been rescued.  This is caused by improper rewarming, allowing cold, stagnant blood from the extremities to return to the core of the body.  When this cold blood returns to the core of the body it may drop core temperature below a level that will sustain life.  For the same reason, hypothermia patients must be handled gently and should not be allowed to walk.

Do Not:
1.  Place an unconscious victim in a bathtub.
2.  Give a victim anything to drink, including hot liquids or alcohol.
3.  Rub the victims skin

1 comment:

senior medical alert said...

Thanks for helping me better understand this disease. I think this disease affects more Americans than I realized. I think giving good care to these people is the most important thing we can do for them.