Warming a Hypothermia Victim

The best way to rewarm a hypothermia victim is NOT to place them naked in a sleeping bag with a warm naked rescuer so they can share body heat.   The hypothermia victim is cold and vasoconstricted so they will not absorb heat through their pale, cold skin. The second problem occurs when the warm rescuer begins to overheat and sweat. They will now get the hypothermia victim damp which will increase heat loss.

One very effective way to rewarm a mildly hypothermic victim (who is shivering vigorously) is to keep them shivering and harness the heat with adequate insulation. Concentrate efforts on getting them dry and keeping them dry. Put them in a good thermal capsule, a hypothermia wrap, and feed them sickly sweet liquids to maintain blood sugar. If unconscious, do not try to feed them, and do your best to provide an external source of heat.

From the Wilderness Medicine Newsletter.   Follow our occasional Tweets @WinterCampers and visit us on Facebook.


Comments are closed.