Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention of Hypothermia

Mild Hypothermia – Victim shivering but coherent. Move victim to place of warmth, remove wet clothes; give warm, sweet drinks; no alcohol or caffeine. Keep victim warm for several hours.

Moderate Hypothermia – Shivering may decrease or stop). Victim may seem irrational with deteriorating coordination. Victim should be kept lying down with torso, thighs, head and neck covered with dry clothes, coats or blankets to stop further heat loss. Obtain professional medical attention immediately.

Severe Hypothermia – Shivering may have stopped. Victim may resist help or be semiconscious or unconscious). Removed from water, victim must be kept horizontal, face up, and immobile. Victim must be handled gently. Cover torso, thighs, head and neck with dry covers to stop further heat loss.  Arms and legs must not be stimulated in any manner. Cold blood in extremities that suddenly returns to the core may induce cardiac arrest. Seek medical attention immediately.

Critical Hypothermia: Little or no breathing or pulse, body rigid. Assume victim can be revived. Look for faint pulse or breathing for 2 minutes. If any trace is found, do not give CPR. Medical help is imperative. If pulse and breathing are totally absent, CPR should be started by trained medical personnel.

Prevention:  AVOIDANCE!  Dress appropriately, Carry a Hypothermia kit.  Recognize symptoms early and act!