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Thread: Heat/Cold Related Injuries. Part 1- Cold

  1. #1
    G.N. Private First Class 77 wolfpack's Avatar

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    Heat/Cold Related Injuries. Part 1- Cold

    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.

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    Hypothermia Contributing Factors:

    • Age

    1. Elderly (as mentioned earlier)
    2. 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
    • Shivering
    • 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:

    • Fingers
    • Toes
    • Nose
    • Ears

    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.

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    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

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    2 Not allowed! Not allowed!

  2. #2
    G.N. Private First Class 77 wolfpack's Avatar

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    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.

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  3. #3
    G.N. Founder Souldat's Avatar

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    Wolf this is awesome work brother! It looks fine and much appreciated!

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