View Full Version : Heat/Cold Related Injuries. Part 1- Cold

77 wolfpack
08-27-2018, 02:28 AM
I know it’s been awhile since I have dropped a thread on GN concerning Real World medical issues, so today, I’m bring one back here.

Today I’m going to go over Cold related injuries. I will cover how to identify each and some very basic ways to treat them. I figure with Labor Day around the corner and hunting season getting ready to go into effect this might be of use since in a couple months, the weather is going to drop. I hope to be able to go over a thread about Heat Related Injury

First there are two types of heat/cold related injury or Temperature Exposure Emergencies:

Hypothermia –Excessive exposure to Cold Temperature
Hyperthermia- Excessive exposure to Hot Temperature

Hypothermia can result from sudden exposure to extreme cold such as when a person falls through thin ice into a frozen lake or pond. It can also develop over time from exposure to cold and icy winds.
Hypothermia can develop without exposure to extreme cold such as those with compromised thermoregulatory systems. As we get older, this can become more of an issue.


Hypothermia Contributing Factors:


Elderly (as mentioned earlier)
Small children or even some females due to smaller frames/mass

Medical conditions
Drugs, alcohol and some medications.
Any combination of the above

Signs and symptoms of Hypothermia

Cool or Cold skin temperature
Altered mental status
Decreased motor and Sensory Function
Muscle rigidity and Joint stiffness

Treatment for Hypothermia

Remove the patient from the cold environment
Remove wet clothing and cover with a blanket
Handle the patient gently
Do NOT massage extremities
Keep the patient warm and calm
Do NOT allow the patient to walk or undergo exertion
Do not allow the patient to eat or drink
Avoid stimulants

Localized Cold Emergency

Another danger from exposure to extreme or prolonged cold is a local cold emergency, AKA- Frostbite. Frostbite is basically the freezing or near freezing of an individual’s body parts. The most common parts of the body normally injured due to the cold are:


Localized cold emergencies injuries are limited in scope and clearly observable on the surface of the skin. There are two BASIC categories of a localized cold emergency: Superficial and Deep

Symptoms of a Superficial Cold Injury

Skin blanching ( basically skin losing its color)
Loss of feeling and sensation
Skin remains soft
After an area is warmed, the patient experiences a tingling sensation

Symptoms of a Deep Cold Injury (Most dangerous)

White waxy skin
Firm or frozen feeling when touched
Swelling or Blisters
If thawed, skin appears flushed with areas of purple and blanching
Skin may be molted and cyanotic

***It should be noted, if you believe you have come across someone who might have a DEEP Cold Injury they need medical attention, because this is a very dangerous condition! Just allowing them to warm up and they will be fine is not only incorrect, but stupid. At this level, they have a serious medical condition and time is of the essence.



Treatment for a Superficial Cold Injury

Remove the patient from the cold environment as best you can.
Immobilize the injured extremity
Remove wet or tight clothing AND any jewelry
Cover the injured area
Do not thaw the injured area to be exposed to cold again.

I know the treatment for superficial cold injuries sounds like common sense but you would be surprised how many people do some crazy things (i.e. having the person submerge their hands into hot water, rubbing the hands firmly thinking that will quicken the healing/heating up process. Don’t do that)

Treatment for a Deep Cold Injury

Treat as you would for a superficial cold injury
Cover the injury with dry cloth or dressings (be careful not to put on too tightly)
Avoid rubbing the injured area
NEVER break the blisters
Do not apply heat
Do NOT allow the person to walk on a frostbitten extremity
Keep the patient calm, comfortable, and quiet
Continually monitor the patient for hypothermia


77 wolfpack
08-27-2018, 02:34 AM
Here is some info. Im not the best at editing to make it look as pretty as some of you all could, but i hope this is useful.

08-28-2018, 08:41 PM
Wolf this is awesome work brother! It looks fine and much appreciated!