Guardian Flight Reminds About Cold Weather Dangers
Guardian Flight has important suggestions for avoiding, recognizing and treating two deadly cold-related illnesses: hypothermia and frostbite. Both conditions occur even in areas known for warm weather and can be caused by wind chill and exposure to snow or wet conditions. As the temperatures begin to drop, it is important to remember that exposure can be a threat to life and limb – especially for older adults, small children, the chronically ill and people who are required to be out in the cold for long periods. Each year across the United States, nearly 1,300 people die due to exposure from excessive cold. “To avoid hypothermia and frostbite, wear several layers of clothing — even indoors,” said Robert Miller, regional director for Guardian Flight. “Layers of clothes provide more insulation than one thick garment. When you’re outdoors, the top layer should resist rain, sleet or snow and have zippers for venting body heat if you become too warm.” Guardian Flight also suggests: •Wear a stocking cap — 40 percent of body heat escapes through the scalp.
•Wear mittens — they keep hands warmer than gloves.
•Remove any clothing that gets wet as soon as possible.
•Check on older adults frequently because age and some medications alter the body’s ability to sense and adapt to temperature changes.
Hypothermia is a general cooling of the body’s internal temperature. Hypothermia victims go through stages of shivering, numbness, confusion, drowsiness and can eventually lose consciousness. Unless emergency aid is provided, death can soon follow.
First aid for hypothermia includes removing the person from the cold setting. Remove any wet clothes, wrap the person in warm materials and, if the victim is alert, give warm, non-alcoholic fluids. Never give anything by mouth to someone who is less than fully alert.
Frostbite is the actual freezing of a body part, most often the fingers, toes, ears or nose, making it feel hard, waxy and discolored.
First aid for frostbite includes removing the person from the cold setting. Handle the affected part gently to protect it from further injury. Do not rub the frostbitten part or allow the victim to try to use the part, such as walking on frostbitten toes. Wrap the part in a dry, clean dressing – never put ice on frostbite. Re-warm the frostbitten body part only if emergency care is remote or unavailable. After re-warming, never let the part re-freeze.
If you suspect hypothermia or frostbite, call 911 for help immediately.
For more information, visit the National Safety Council at nsc.org.
About Guardian Flight
Guardian Flight is a leading provider of air medical services, transporting patients in remote and rural settings to large hospitals in metropolitan areas. We use the most advanced equipment, quality aircraft, and most importantly, trained and experienced staff to accomplish our mission of saving lives and caring for the communities we serve. For more information about Guardian Flight, visit www.guardianflight. com and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.