Monday, November 3, 2008


Hypothermia is a condition by which the body temperature drops below 36oC because of exposure to cold, moisture and wind.


In hypothermia the blood supply to the outer body layers (body shell) deteriorates because of the effect of cold, and circulation is maintained only in the inner part of the body (body core). This condition is called centralization. It is a protective reaction of the body to prevent the blood and thus the body core from cooling down too quickly. Apart from general hypothermia local damage tissue can occur too.


Symptom and Sign

The casualty initially feels:

·        Intense pain, then gets increasingly

·        Apathetic

·        Tired

·        Feel fine, and

·        Falls asleep

·        Pulse slow down and breathing slackens.



Unconsciousness, respiratory and circulatory failure owing to the drop in body core temperature below 30oC.


Fist Aid

·        Wake the casualty and keep him awake

·        Keep him reclining and do not let him move or walk around

·        Wrap the casualty in a blanket or warm clothes.

·        Check breathing and circulation regularly, and if breathing stop, artificial respiration, and if circulation stop, chest compression (but only 40 compressions a minute).


If transport to hospital is impossible for the time being (mountain):


·        Seek shelter, i.e. take the casualty to a sheltered place or a warm room (mountain hut)

·        Remove cold, wet clothing and wrap the casualty in warm blankets.

·        Do not massage or rub the casualty with a towel, if feasible.

·        Dress frostbite with a sterile dressing.

·        Give hot drinks, but do not administer alcohol.


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