As we make the approach to colder weather and lower water temperatures, we should be aware of the effects of exposure to them. A state known as hypothermia is where the human body core temperature is reduced and needs assistance to recover. Old methods of a hot bath or shower are no longer acceptable as they could induce more serious conditions leading to cardiac arrest in severe cases. 

The following document has been put together by Peter Schranz  and edited by Sarah Peat (both healthcare professionals) to help us better understand the symptoms of and the treatment for hypothermia.

Within the next week, the space we are developing as a facility for disabled persons will be used over the winter months for the treatment of potential hypothermia. Please take the time to read through and familiarise yourselves with this treatment.

 

Hypothermia Protocol

  • Remove from cold, windy or wet conditions
  • Take member to dedicated hypothermia room (Disabled changing facility)
  • Measure the core temperature (Using thermometer provided)

TREATMENT

  • Do not use a hot bath, hot water bottle or direct heat to warm them
  • Do not rub their arms, legs, feet or hands
  • Do not give them alcohol to drink

 

Mild hypothermia (33-35ºC)

  • Remove the casualty from the cold / wet environment
  • Remove wetsuit and dress in dry clothes
  • Insulate with dry blankets / space blanket
  • Offer a warm, sweet drink and sweet snack
  • The casualty will safely rewarm under these conditions.


Moderate hypothermia (31-32ºC)

  • Remove from the cold
  • Keep wetsuit on
  • Insulate with dry blankets / space blanket
  • Keep casualty lying down and monitor for irregular pulse
  • If casualty remains unstable transfer to hospital
  • If casualty is stable and temperature rises to 33ºC remove wetsuit and replace with dry clothes and space blanket and offer a hot sweet drink and sweet snack


Severe hypothermia (<31ºC )

  • Recognise this is SERIOUS
  • High risk of life-threatening heart arrhythmias e.g Ventricular fibrillation
  • Handle as little or as gently as possible
  • Ring 999 – Say suspect severe hypothermia and mention temperature level
  • Casualty may appear dead, but will have very slow heart rate and slow breathing
  • CASUALTY IS NOT DEAD UNTIL THEY ARE WARM AND DEAD