Quick Tips for shelter providers/outreach staff for keeping people warm in cold weather and recognizing and dealing with hypothermia and frostbite. - Project Neon BLOG

Quick Tips for shelter providers/outreach staff for keeping people warm in cold weather and recognizing and dealing with hypothermia and frostbite.

Posted by A.T. Martin on January 20, 2012 2:09 PM

Key Point: If you think someone may have hypothermia or frostbite they should be referred for medical evaluation.

 General guidance

                       Encourage staying inside as much as possible, especially for sleeping

                       Remind  clients about dressing in layers

                       Provide/encourage a hat or head covering- this helps decrease heat loss tremendously

                       Provide/encourage mittens ( warmer than gloves) and scarves

                       Encourage client to stay dry as possible-outer wear best if water resistant

                       Proper foot wear is hard to get in Seattle; people will need boots shoes and socks

 Additional ways to help

                       Provide clothing as above

                       Provide high-energy foods such as energy bars

                       Provide hearty soups and stews with high carbohydrate and protein

                       Encourage hydration- limit coffee, provide teas, particularly decaf, water, warmed juices, broth

                       Alcohol exacerbates heat loss. Does not "warm you up"

                       Assist with drying feet, provide dry socks/shoes

 Most people who come in from the cold will respond to the following

                       Remove wet clothing

                       Put on dry clothing

                       Provide warm beverages, especially broth, warm Gatorade, juices (helps with restoring electrolytes and hydration)

                       If people begin to develop any of the symptoms below they should be referred for medical evaluation

 Hypothermia and Frostbite

People at higher risk for hypothermia include persons who:

                       Spend a lot of time outside

                       Are under-dressed for weather

                       Dependent on alcohol

                       Use recreational drug users

                       Have diabetes

                       Are elderly

                       Are malnourished

                       Are mentally ill

                       Have an active infection

                       Have mobility problems

 The signs and symptoms of hypothermia are similar to those of intoxication:

                       Confusion

                       Slurred speech

                       Trouble with coordination

                       Slowed response time

                       Sleepiness

                       They are also likely to be shivering

 Frostbite

                       Frost bitten areas may look dusky, dark

                       Immersion foot may look waxy, blanched, grayish /whitish

                       May feel numb or prickly to the person.

                       These conditions require quick medical evaluation. 

 If signs of either of these are present, these folks should be referred for medical evaluation

 While they are waiting to be transferred provide:

                       Warm, dry clothing/covering

                       Warm, not hot, liquids

                       Avoid direct exposure to heaters or attempts to rapidly warm the person up as this can make things worse.

 

Source: Public Health - Seattle & King County

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This page contains a single entry by A.T. Martin published on January 20, 2012 2:09 PM.

The HIV section of the HIV/STD Program is moving to new offices! was the previous entry in this blog.

Prevention of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning is the next entry in this blog.

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