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Symptoms of Hypothermia

  • Uncontrolled shivering—usually the first obvious symptom, but ceases as hypothermia progresses
  • Slow, slurred speech
  • Memory loss
  • Irrational behavior, such as removing clothing
  • Lack of body movement
  • Sleepiness
  • Unconsciousness, which could lead to death
Hunter sitting near campfire, warming himself

Treatment of Hypothermia

  • Find shelter for the victim.
  • Remove wet clothing, and replace with dry clothing and other protective covering. If there is no dry clothing, use a fire to dry one layer at a time.
  • Give warm liquids to rehydrate and rewarm, but never give the victim alcohol to drink. Quick-energy foods also produce inner body heat.
  • For mild cases, use fire, blankets, or another person’s body heat to warm the victim.
  • In more advanced stages, rewarm the victim slowly by placing one or more persons in body contact with the victim. Place canteens of hot water insulated with socks or towels on the groin, armpits, and sides of the neck of the victim.
  • A victim at or near unconsciousness must be handled gently, and not immersed in a warm bath or exposed to a large fire, which can lead to traumatic shock or death. Immediately contact emergency medical personnel to evacuate the victim to a hospital for treatment.