Whenever winter rolls around, it seems we’re always hearing stories about hypothermia cases and treating hypothermia the right way, but we might be ignoring the warnings.
As a common condition that can affect those of us in the colder parts of the US, hypothermia is a very real potential threat and so it pays to be educated on how to treat hypothermia and what to look out for.
#1: There Are Obvious Symptoms
One huge warning sign that hypothermia could be on its way is shivering, as this our body’s natural response to try and keep us warm from the inside.
Usually, once hypothermia progresses we actually stop shivering, so it’s a sign that your body is doing everything it can to stay warm for now, urging you to move somewhere the temps are higher.
Other symptoms that might not be as obvious include hunger, general sickness, and feeling dizzy or tired.
#2: It’s Not Just From Being Outside
A huge misconception about hypothermia is that it only affects people out on winter hikes or those stuck in the woods while it’s snowing, but it can occur anywhere and anytime. There are many cases of people who have been indoors and developed the condition, and this is usually more common with the elderly.
As their bodies can’t regulate temps as well as younger adults, they might not notice the damage that colder air is doing even within their house.
#3: Dehydration Can Cause It
One of the easiest ways to ensure you’ll get hypothermia if you’re out in colder weather is to avoid water, and hypothermia and dehydration go hand in hand. Always keep fresh water on hand and drink more if you’re being active to ensure your body is kept hydrated.
#4: It Is More Common Than Ever
According to the Center for Disease Control, there are now more cases of hypothermia than ever before, so it’s something that you need to be on the lookout for. The most common groups to develop it include seniors, the homeless, those living alone, and people with mental illness, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is immune.
#5: Treatment Is Everything
There are many misconceptions about how to treat someone with hypothermia and the wrong treatment can end up leading to more problems. If you suspect someone has hypothermia because they’ve had prolonged exposure to cold weather or are showing the symptoms, the first thing you need to do is call 911.
If possible, move the person to someone warmer or sheltered while you wait for help to arrive but do so slowly, and then remove any wet clothing they might have on and replace it with something dry.