Cold Weather Exposure & Treatment

When the body begins to lose heat faster than it can produce it, a condition called hypothermia begins to develop. The symptoms become very apparent, and include:

* Uncontrollable shivering
* Vague, slow, slurred speech
* Memory lapses; incoherence
* Immobile, fumbling hands
* Frequent stumbling; lurching gait
* Drowsiness
* Apparent exhaustion; inability to get up after a rest

If a person shows any signs of overexposure to cold or wet and windy weather, take the following measures– even if the person claims to be in no difficulty. Often the person will not realize the seriousness of the situation.

* Get the person into dry clothing and in to a warm bed or sleeping bag with a “hot” water bottle (which should actually be only warm to the touch, not hot), warm towels, heating pad, or some other such heat source.

* Concentrate heat on the trunk of the body first — that is, the shoulders, chest and stomach.

* Keep the head low and the feet up to get warm blood circulating to the head.

* Give the person warm drinks.

* Never give the person alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or pain relievers. They only slow down body processes even more.

* Keep the person quiet. Do not jostle, massage, or rub.

* If symptoms are extreme, call for professional medical assistance immediately.

Keep your fork

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