Tag Archives: precautions

Avoiding Hypothermia

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Avoiding HypothermiaRight now in the USA a large portion of the country s experiencing extreme cold.  I’m in Oklahoma and at the present time we are having the longest cold stretch (freezing) with wind chills in the single digits that we’ve experienced in many years.  I am lucky that I can stay inside and keep warm by my wood stove and watch the beautiful snow falling outside.  Not everyone is as lucky as I am.  Many, many people have to work in this weather.

Here are some tips to help you avoid hypothermia. I don’t want anyone to experience the problems and possible death that can occur.

The simple way to avoid hypothermia is to dress warmly and stay out of the cold. But things don’t always work out and there may come a time when you don’t dress warmly enough and you’re so cold you can’t remember your name.

Dazed and Confused

No, really. When your body temperature drops below 95 degrees F, you’re hypothermic and one of the symptoms is that you’re dazed and confused, not to mention shivering violently. You also get pale, and your lips, ears, fingers and toes turn blue.

Then things could get really serious. If your temperature should drop as low as 90 degrees F, your organs begin to fail and without immediate medical attention, you’ll likely die.

Forget the Whiskey

Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce your chance of freezing to death. If you think you could be caught outside in very cold temperatures, dress in layers, preferably wool or other fabrics that can dry quickly. Keep your head covered. Drink plenty of warm fluids, but not alcohol or any caffeinated liquid, both of which hinder the body’s heat-producing mechanisms. So forget about that shot of whiskey getting you through the cold night.

Also, do whatever you can to stay dry. Obviously, you’re not going to go around flopping into streams when it’s freezing outside. But if you should get wet, keep in mind that wet clothing can lose up to 90 percent of its insulating effect, so your risk of hypothermia could rise dramatically.

No Massages, Please

If you’re lucky enough to be with someone when your body starts shutting down, what should they do to save you? First, they should call 911. You’re going to need medical help. They also should get you into shelter, if possible. If they can’t get you indoors, they at least should move you out of the wind. Wherever you are, they should wrap you, including your head, in blankets, towels or even newspapers. Ideally, they should put hot water bottles under your armpits and between your legs, making sure that they don’t put anything on bare skin. Finally, they should keep you flat and move you as little as possible. Movement could cause a severely hypothermic person to have a heart attack.

A few things they shouldn’t do. They shouldn’t rub or massage you. That could cause more damage if you also have frostbite. They shouldn’t get you anything to eat. And they shouldn’t give you anything to drink, especially alcohol, no matter how much you think that’s just what you need.bigstock-Snow-Shoveling-In-Winter-Blizz-4294190

 

 

Are You Sharing?

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Flu sickHello, it’s the nurse in me again, wanting to remind everyone that we have an epidemic on our hands with the flu. If you have symptoms of the flu then stay home because I don’t want it. I love to share but just not this nasty little bug. In case you have forgotten the symptoms of the flu, let me remind you. The flu virus is a respiratory illness and can cause many of the symptoms that everyone has experienced at one time or another: fever, body aches, coughing, congestion and fatigue. Most of the symptoms that are caused by the flu virus could also just as easily be the result of a cold virus infection, according to the CDC.

Some differences: the flu virus is more likely to cause fever — and a higher fever, at that. Flu sufferers have more severe symptoms overall and are more likely to face fatigue, body aches and a dry cough. Cold sufferers, by contrast, more commonly have a stuffed or runny nose and respiratory congestion. Some flu sufferers also have intestinal symptoms, such as vomiting or diarrhea.

Despite concerns about the gravity of illness, the truth is that most flu cases are mild and do not require treatment or hospitalization. Flu, unlike cold, can in rare instances lead to serious conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis, and it can even lead to death in vulnerable populations. People with a higher than average risk for complications include children under five years, pregnant women, those with compromised immune systems and senior citizens. Asthmatics, those with blood disorders, congestive heart failure and even those who are morbidly obese are also at greater risk, according to the CDC.

If you’re in one of the high-risk groups listed by the CDC (check here), it may be a good idea to check with a healthcare professional if you begin to experience flu-like symptoms.

“Reasons to visit the ER include severe dehydration, lethargy, confusion, or any other truly concerning symptom,” Stork says. “What seems like the flu is not always the flu and vice versa and sometimes a visit to the ER is needed to properly diagnose and treat.”