Disaster, Cold Weather and Hypothermia
The Disaster Podcast team takes on hypothermia in disaster situations. What are the concerns for both rescuers and patients in cold weather rescue situations? We’ll address that in this episode. Joining podcast hosts Jamie Davis, the Podmedic and Sam Bradley is Dr. Joe Holley from the Paragon Medical Education Group and Tennessee Task Force One.
Jamie and Sam Ask Dr. Joe about the specific concerns for USAR and other deployed rescuers in cold weather and also about the pathophysiology of hypothermia.
When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body’s stored energy. 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 is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it 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 often (1) elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating; (2) babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; (3) people who remain outdoors for long periods—the homeless, hikers, hunters, etc.; and (4) people who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs.
Got a question for the Disaster Podcast Team? Why don’t you leave a comment below here on the site and we’ll get right back to you both in the comments area and by email, too! We look forward to hearing from you. The first 10 respondents will be entered in a draw to win a very special survival knife.
Again, a special thank-you to Paragon Medical Education Group for their continued support of this podcast as our partners in this endeavor to bring disaster medicine to you. We thank shootingauthority.com for the info on survival gear and their statistics, check out their page and educational resources that can help your system be more prepared for what happens in your area.
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