Tag Archives: Hypothermia

Straight, No Chaser: Hypothermia (Low Body Temperature)

Hypothermia gif

This is part of a series on cold-related medical disorders.
Hypothermia is low body temperature. It’s not the “Oh, it’s cold outside” type of cold, but it is the “Oh, your life is in danger!” variety. Medically, hypothermia is a core body temperature below 95 °F (35 °C), and it can be produced by either an absolute cold exposure or sufficient heat loss beyond the body’s ability to generate a response.hypothermia

What you want to know about hypothermia is the conditions and risks that set you up for it. Anyone can get hypothermia if you’re exposed to bad enough conditions, including the following:

  • Being outside without sufficient clothing in cold conditions
  • Being outside with wet clothing in cold and windy conditions
  • Excessive exertion or insufficient food or fluids while in cold and/or windy conditions
  • Excessive cold water exposure (e.g. immersion while ice fishing or boating)

hypothermia baby

Persons most likely to get hypothermic include the very old or young and those who are chronically ill or malnourished. Persons of normal health can get hypothermia if excessively fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Typical symptoms of hypothermia include weakness, drowsiness, confusion and lack of coordination. Skin becomes cold, pale and frostbitten. Shivering becomes obvious and uncontrollable. Eventually, the heart and breathing rates will slow, and mental ability will progressively fade. Ultimately, the body can go into shock, and the heart and brain can cease functioning. Prolonged exposure will result in death if untreated.
For now I will leave you with the following considerations.

  • If you find someone in the cold who is not responding, don’t assume s/he’s dead.
  • Placing someone in direct heat, such as is given via a heating pad or lamp, or in hot water is not the approach and should not be done.
  • Do not give alcohol to someone exposed to extreme cold.

In the next post in this series we will discuss treatment and prevention strategies for extreme cold exposure.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
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Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2018 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: What You Can Do To Manage Frostbite and Serious Cold Exposure

Frostbite_enHD

I’ll admit that my orientation is different than yours. I’ll argue that your orientation should be closer to mine. What’s the difference, you may ask? I’ve actually seen the consequences of your unfortunate actions, and these consequences occur with a much greater frequency than you may imagine. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” isn’t just a catchy quote from Ben Franklin. It’s an “Oops, I should’ve had a V-8 moment” when you’re in front of me, my nurses and big invasive medical treatment options in an emergency room.
Cold exposure is a good example of this. We’ve previously discussed frostbite, but there must be more to the story than frostbite. Frostbite is not a necessary pit stop on the way to very bad things happening due to cold exposure. More importantly, for as bad as frostbite is, there are worse things that can happen to you from cold exposure. This is a relatively important conversation. You need more tools at your disposal than “Just bundle up.” We’ll explore these tools in two parts: basic care and emergency care.
The Basics – Prevention

  • Layers of loose clothing are better. Wear more than one pair of socks, at least until you’re back indoors.
  • Use a hat that actually covers your scalp. (Major heat loss occurs through the scalp.)
  • Use a hat that covers your ears and a scarf that covers your nose. (These areas are prone to frostbite.)
  • Wear mittens. They are better for protecting your fingers than gloves.
  • People greatly underestimate the effect of the combinations of being cold and wet or being exposed to cold and windy conditions. If you have water-resistant, wind-proof options, use them.
  • If you know you’re going to be exposed to the cold for a significant period of time, eat up and rest up beforehand. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes prior to and during such journeys.

frost

Treatment You Can Do If Exposed:

  • Know what symptoms could be a result of hypothermia. Check previous posts for a refresher.
  • Your first step is to call 911, especially if any mental status changes (e.g., confusion) are present. Time is of the essence.
  • Do you know CPR? Refer here for a very easy refresher (you’ll commit it to memory in 2 minutes) of when to use it and how to perform it.
  • Can you get inside? Cover yourself with warm blankets and drink warm (nonalcoholic) fluids if possible. Remove wet and tight clothing (and cover back up with dry ones if possible).
  • You’re stuck outside? You should be thinking about reducing exposure to the cold, the wind and any wetness as much as possible. Don’t forget to provide a layer between the backside and the ground. Prioritize covering the scalp.
  • Think about giving or receiving a hug as a means of warmth. If you have access to warm compresses or towels, preferentially apply to the armpits, groin, neck and chest.

Your take home message is death from hypothermia can be avoided with the knowledge and application of basic fundamental considerations. Even better, you can usually choose to avoid exposure to bitterly cold conditions. I hope you find this information useful and never need to use it.
This is part of a series on medical conditions resulting from cold exposure.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Hypothermia (Low Body Temperature)

Hypothermia gif

This is part of a series on cold-related medical disorders.
Hypothermia is low body temperature. It’s not the “Oh, it’s cold outside” type of cold, but it is the “Oh, your life is in danger!” variety. Medically, hypothermia is a core body temperature below 95 °F (35 °C), and it can be produced by either an absolute cold exposure or sufficient heat loss beyond the body’s ability to generate a response.hypothermia

What you want to know about hypothermia is the conditions and risks that set you up for it. Anyone can get hypothermia if you’re exposed to bad enough conditions, including the following:

  • Being outside without sufficient clothing in cold conditions
  • Being outside with wet clothing in cold and windy conditions
  • Excessive exertion or insufficient food or fluids while in cold and/or windy conditions
  • Excessive cold water exposure (e.g. immersion while ice fishing or boating)

hypothermia baby

Persons most likely to get hypothermic include the very old or young and those who are chronically ill or malnourished. Persons of normal health can get hypothermia if excessively fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Typical symptoms of hypothermia include weakness, drowsiness, confusion and lack of coordination. Skin becomes cold, pale and frostbitten. Shivering becomes obvious and uncontrollable. Eventually, the heart and breathing rates will slow, and mental ability will progressively fade. Ultimately, the body can go into shock, and the heart and brain can cease functioning. Prolonged exposure will result in death if untreated.
For now I will leave you with the following considerations.

  • If you find someone in the cold who is not responding, don’t assume s/he’s dead.
  • Placing someone in direct heat, such as is given via a heating pad or lamp, or in hot water is not the approach and should not be done.
  • Do not give alcohol to someone exposed to extreme cold.

In the next post in this series we will discuss treatment and prevention strategies for extreme cold exposure.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.
Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: What You Can Do To Manage Frostbite and Serious Cold Exposure

Frostbite_enHD

I’ll admit that my orientation is different than yours. I’ll argue that your orientation should be closer to mine. What’s the difference, you may ask? I’ve actually seen the consequences of your unfortunate actions, and these consequences occur with a much greater frequency than you may imagine. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” isn’t just a catchy quote from Ben Franklin. It’s an “Oops, I should’ve had a V-8 moment” when you’re in front of me, my nurses and big invasive medical treatment options in an emergency room.
Cold exposure is a good example of this. We’ve previously discussed frostbite, but there must be more to the story than frostbite. Frostbite is not a necessary pit stop on the way to very bad things happening due to cold exposure. More importantly, for as bad as frostbite is, there are worse things that can happen to you from cold exposure. This is a relatively important conversation. You need more tools at your disposal than “Just bundle up.” We’ll explore these tools in two parts: basic care and emergency care.
The Basics – Prevention

  • Layers of loose clothing are better. Wear more than one pair of socks, at least until you’re back indoors.
  • Use a hat that actually covers your scalp. (Major heat loss occurs through the scalp.)
  • Use a hat that covers your ears and a scarf that covers your nose. (These areas are prone to frostbite.)
  • Wear mittens. They are better for protecting your fingers than gloves.
  • People greatly underestimate the effect of the combinations of being cold and wet or being exposed to cold and windy conditions. If you have water-resistant, wind-proof options, use them.
  • If you know you’re going to be exposed to the cold for a significant period of time, eat up and rest up beforehand. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes prior to and during such journeys.

frost

Treatment You Can Do If Exposed:

  • Know what symptoms could be a result of hypothermia. Check previous posts for a refresher.
  • Your first step is to call 911, especially if any mental status changes (e.g., confusion) are present. Time is of the essence.
  • Do you know CPR? Refer here for a very easy refresher (you’ll commit it to memory in 2 minutes) of when to use it and how to perform it.
  • Can you get inside? Cover yourself with warm blankets and drink warm (nonalcoholic) fluids if possible. Remove wet and tight clothing (and cover back up with dry ones if possible).
  • You’re stuck outside? You should be thinking about reducing exposure to the cold, the wind and any wetness as much as possible. Don’t forget to provide a layer between the backside and the ground. Prioritize covering the scalp.
  • Think about giving or receiving a hug as a means of warmth. If you have access to warm compresses or towels, preferentially apply to the armpits, groin, neck and chest.

Your take home message is death from hypothermia can be avoided with the knowledge and application of basic fundamental considerations. Even better, you can usually choose to avoid exposure to bitterly cold conditions. I hope you find this information useful and never need to use it.
This is part of a series on medical conditions resulting from cold exposure.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: Hypothermia (Low Body Temperature)

Hypothermia gif

This is part of a series on cold-related medical disorders.
Hypothermia is low body temperature. It’s not the “Oh, it’s cold outside” type of cold, but it is the “Oh, your life is in danger!” variety. Medically, hypothermia is a core body temperature below 95 °F (35 °C), and it can be produced by either an absolute cold exposure or sufficient heat loss beyond the body’s ability to generate a response.hypothermia

What you want to know about hypothermia is the conditions and risks that set you up for it. Anyone can get hypothermia if you’re exposed to bad enough conditions, including the following:

  • Being outside without sufficient clothing in cold conditions
  • Being outside with wet clothing in cold and windy conditions
  • Excessive exertion or insufficient food or fluids while in cold and/or windy conditions
  • Excessive cold water exposure (e.g. immersion while ice fishing or boating)

hypothermia baby

Persons most likely to get hypothermic include the very old or young and those who are chronically ill or malnourished. Persons of normal health can get hypothermia if excessively fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Typical symptoms of hypothermia include weakness, drowsiness, confusion and lack of coordination. Skin becomes cold, pale and frostbitten. Shivering becomes obvious and uncontrollable. Eventually, the heart and breathing rates will slow, and mental ability will progressively fade. Ultimately, the body can go into shock, and the heart and brain can cease functioning. Prolonged exposure will result in death if untreated.
For now I will leave you with the following considerations.

  • If you find someone in the cold who is not responding, don’t assume s/he’s dead.
  • Placing someone in direct heat, such as is given via a heating pad or lamp, or in hot water is not the approach and should not be done.
  • Do not give alcohol to someone exposed to extreme cold.

In the next post in this series we will discuss treatment and prevention strategies for extreme cold exposure.
Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.
Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new book Behind The Curtain: A Peek at Life from within the ER at jeffreysterlingbooks.com, iTunes, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and wherever books are sold.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Straight, No Chaser: What You Can Do To Manage Hypothermia and Serious Cold Exposure

ShiningJackNicholson-300x225

Is this the most famous illustration of frostbite? Do you remember the movie reference?

I’ll admit that my orientation is different than yours. I’ll argue that your orientation should be closer to mine. What’s the difference, you may ask? I’ve actually seen the consequences of your unfortunate actions, and these consequences occur with a much greater frequency than you may imagine. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” isn’t just a catchy quote from Ben Franklin. It’s an “Oops, I should’ve had a V-8 moment” when you’re in front of me, my nurses and big invasive medical treatment options in an emergency room.
Cold exposure is a good example of this. We’ve previously discussed frostbite, but there must be more to the story than frostbite. Frostbite is not a necessary pit stop on the way to very bad things happening due to cold exposure. More importantly, for as bad as frostbite is, there are worse things that can happen to you from cold exposure. This is a relatively important conversation. You need more tools at your disposal than “Just bundle up.” We’ll explore these tools in two parts: basic care and emergency care.
The Basics – Prevention

  • Layers of loose clothing are better. Wear more than one pair of socks, at least until you’re back indoors.
  • Use a hat that actually covers your scalp. (Major heat loss occurs through the scalp.)
  • Use a hat that covers your ears and a scarf that covers your nose. (These areas are prone to frostbite.)
  • Wear mittens. They are better for protecting your fingers than gloves.
  • People greatly underestimate the effect of the combinations of being cold and wet or being exposed to cold and windy conditions. If you have water-resistant, wind-proof options, use them.
  • If you know you’re going to be exposed to the cold for a significant period of time, eat up and rest up beforehand. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes prior to and during such journeys.

Treatment You Can Do If Exposed:

  • Know what symptoms could be a result of hypothermia. Check previous posts for a refresher.
  • Your first step is to call 911, especially if any mental status changes (e.g., confusion) are present. Time is of the essence.
  • Do you know CPR? Refer here for a very easy refresher (you’ll commit it to memory in 2 minutes) of when to use it and how to perform it.
  • Can you get inside? Cover yourself with warm blankets and drink warm (nonalcoholic) fluids if possible. Remove wet and tight clothing (and cover back up with dry ones if possible).
  • You’re stuck outside? You should be thinking about reducing exposure to the cold, the wind and any wetness as much as possible. Don’t forget to provide a layer between the backside and the ground. Prioritize covering the scalp.
  • Think about giving or receiving a hug as a means of warmth. If you have access to warm compresses or towels, preferentially apply to the armpits, groin, neck and chest.

Your take home message is death from hypothermia can be avoided with the knowledge and application of basic fundamental considerations. Even better, you can usually choose to avoid exposure to bitterly cold conditions. I hope you find this information useful and never need to use it.
This is part of a series on medical conditions resulting from cold exposure.

  • Click here for a discussion of frostbite.
  • Click here for a discussion of the symptoms of and risks for hypothermia

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: Hypothermia (Low Body Temperature)

hypothermia

This is part of a series on cold-related medical disorders.

  • To review the Do’s and Don’ts of Frostbite, click here.

Hypothermia is low body temperature. It’s not the “Oh, it’s cold outside” type of cold, but it is the “Oh, your life is in danger!” variety. Medically, hypothermia is a core body temperature below 95 °F (35 °C), and it can be produced by either an absolute cold exposure or sufficient heat loss beyond the body’s ability to generate a response.

What you want to know about hypothermia is the conditions and risks that set you up for it. Anyone can get hypothermia if you’re exposed to bad enough conditions, including the following:

  • Being outside without sufficient clothing in cold conditions
  • Being outside with wet clothing in cold and windy conditions
  • Excessive exertion or insufficient food or fluids while in cold and/or windy conditions
  • Excessive cold water exposure (e.g. immersion while ice fishing or boating)

Persons most likely to get hypothermic include the very old or young and those who are chronically ill or malnourished. Persons of normal health can get hypothermia if excessively fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Typical symptoms of hypothermia include weakness, drowsiness, confusion and lack of coordination. Skin becomes cold, pale and frostbitten. Shivering becomes obvious and uncontrollable. Eventually, the heart and breathing rates will slow, and mental ability will progressively fade. Ultimately, the body can go into shock, and the heart and brain can cease functioning. Prolonged exposure will result in death if untreated.
For now I will leave you with the following considerations.

  • If you find someone in the cold who is not responding, don’t assume s/he’s dead.
  • Placing someone in direct heat, such as is given via a heating pad or lamp, or in hot water is not the approach and should not be done.
  • Do not give alcohol to someone exposed to extreme cold.

In the next post in this series we will discuss treatment and prevention strategies for extreme cold exposure.
Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

Straight, No Chaser: The Do's and Don't of Treating Frostbite

Alpha-Phi-Alpha-Ice-Cold-shirthypotherm1

There’s a cold front coming. You can’t avoid the exposure. Some of you will end up cold as ice (and twice as nice?). Would you really know what to do if you caught frostbite? I thought not, and the bad news is some of your instinctive tendencies are exactly what you ought not to do in this situation. Here are some do’s and don’ts if you ever find yourself or a loved one in this particularly precarious position.
The Do’s
A lot of this depends on the circumstances.

  • Give warm fluids if possible.
  • If the person is wet, remove wet clothing.
  • If s/he is wearing tight clothing, remove whatever’s constricting.
  • Move to as warm of a climate as feasible; if not possible, then shelter the person from the cold. Avoid movement of the frostbitten parts to the extent possible.
  • Gently separate affected fingers and toes, and if you can, wrap them loosely in sterile dressing.
  • If you have transportation, get to an emergency room as soon as possible.
  • If immediate care or transportation is not available, soak the affected areas in warm (preferably circulating and never hot) water. Alternatively, place warm coverings to affected areas for up to 30 minutes at a time. If skin is soft and feeling returns, you’ve done a good job.
    • Be mindful that burning pain and swelling will occur during rewarming.
  • Apply dry, loose and preferably sterile dressings to the frostbitten areas. Keep frostbitten fingers or toes separated with dressings.
  • Delay rewarming if you are not in an area safe from the risk of refreezing. Refreezing of thawed extremities is even more dangerous than the initial freeze.  

DO NOT

  • Rub or massage the frostbitten area.
  • Peel or pop any blisters that may be present.
  • Use dry heat, such as from a hair dryer, a radiation, heating pad, electric blanket or campfire. These heat source may be ok to keep the rest of you warm (particularly your core), but this type of direct heat can further damage frostbitten tissue.
  • Rewarm until you can be sure it can stay thawed.
  • Smoke or drink alcohol during recovery. These activities can interfere with blood circulation and cause additional problems.

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress. We are also on Facebook at SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2013 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress