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Essential Information About Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a condition that results from a drastic loss of body heat as a result of overexposure to the cold. A person with the condition will have an abnormally low core body temperature (below 95 degrees). Symptoms of mild hypothermia (temperature 90 to 95) are uncontrollable shivering, with pale, cool skin and some degree of confusion and difficulty moving. If the core temperature drops below 90 degrees, the body stops shivering, and blood pressure, heart rate and rate of breathing decrease. To give first-aid for hypothermia:

  • Stop the heat loss. Move the person to a warmer place and cover him or her with dry blankets. Don't place the person in front of a fireplace or radiator -- an extreme change in temperature could cause shock.

  • Use a heating blanket, heat lamp or hot pack, if available, taking care to rewarm the person gradually.

  • If the person is conscious and appears lucid, offer something warm and nonalcoholic to drink.

  • If the person is unconscious, seek emergency medical care. If you cannot detect a pulse after a minute, you can use CPR. Do not attempt CPR if the person has a pulse.

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