Governor Cuomo provides important winter safety tips for preventing hypothermia, frostbite etc.
January 3, 2014 —
What is hypothermia? When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature.
Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won't be able to do anything about it.
Hypothermia occurs most commonly at very cold environmental temperatures, but can occur even at cool temperatures (above 40°F) if a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat, or submersion in cold water.
Victims of hypothermia are most often:
Elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating
Babies sleeping in cold bedrooms
Children left unattended
Adults under the influence of alcohol
People who remain outdoors for long periods – the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.
What are the warning signs for hypothermia?
Memory loss/slurred speech
Bright red, cold skin
Very low energy
What should I do if I see someone with warning signs of hypothermia?
If you notice signs of hypothermia, take the person's temperature. If it is below 95°F (35°C), the situation is an emergency—get medical attention immediately.
If medical care is not available, begin warming the person, as follows:
Get the victim into a warm room or shelter.
If the victim has on any wet clothing, remove it.
Warm the center of the body first—chest, neck, head, and groin—using an electric blanket, if available. Or use skin-to-skin contact under loose, dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
Warm beverages can help increase the body temperature, but do NOT give alcoholic beverages. Do not try to give beverages to an unconscious person.
After body temperature has increased, keep the person dry and wrapped in a warm blanket, including the head and neck.
Get medical attention as soon as possible.
A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious and may not seem to have a pulse or to be breathing. In this case, handle the victim gently, and get emergency assistance immediately.
Even if the victim appears dead, CPR should be provided. CPR should continue while the victim is being warmed, until the victim responds or medical aid becomes available. In some cases, hypothermia victims who appear to be dead can be successfully resuscitated.