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First Aid and the Health Effects of Cold Environments

First Aid and the Health Effects of Cold Environments
"""What negative consequences does exposure to cold have on health?

Hypothermia is the most dangerous of the cold injuries that can occur when bodily parts are cooled. Trenchfoot, immersion foot, and chilblain are examples of nonfreezing cold injuries. Frostnip and frostbite are examples of cold-related injuries. The most vulnerable body parts are the toes, fingers, ears, and nose because they lack powerful muscles that generate heat. Additionally, the body maintains heat by keeping the internal organs warm, which in turn reduces blood flow to the extremities in cold weather. Additionally, because to their larger surface area to volume ratio and likelihood of coming into contact with colder surfaces than other body parts, hands and feet typically become colder more quickly than the chest. The corneas of the eyes could freeze if goggles are not used when there is a severe wind chill. Hypothermia, which results from an excessive loss of body heat and the subsequent reduction of the inner core temperature, is the most severe cold damage (internal temperature of the body). Being too cold can be fatal. Please go to Cold Environments - General for further details on the consequences of working in the cold generally as well as how the body adjusts to cold. Please refer to Cold Environments - Working in the Cold for details on exposure restrictions and injury prevention while working in the cold.

What types of cold injuries are ""nonfreezing""?

Chilblains are a moderate form of frostbite that develop after being repeatedly exposed for several hours to air that is cold but not freezing (0°C or 32°F or more to as high as 16°C (or roughly 60°F)). There will be pain, blisters, tingling, and redness in the area of skin that is affected. If you develop an infection, get medical attention. Usually, chills will go away on their own, especially during warmer months. Recurrence has been prevalent for a long time. Individuals with feet that have been damp but not frigid for days or weeks experience immersion foot. It can happen at up to 10°C (50°F) of temperature. Nerve and muscular tissue are the main victims. Itching, soreness, swelling in the hands, feet, or legs are among the symptoms, as are tingling and numbness. Blisters can also form. Initially red, the skin may later turn blue or purple as the damage worsens. In extreme circumstances, gangrene might form. Trenchfoot is a ""wet cold disease"" caused by extended contact with a damp or moist environment between above the freezing point and roughly 10°C (50°F). The typical time for symptoms to appear is three days, however this can vary depending on the temperature. An immersion foot is more likely to develop at greater temperatures and longer exposure times, whereas trenchfoot is more likely to develop at lower temperatures. If someone wears wet gloves for an extended period of time while it's chilly outside, as detailed above, it can lead to a similar condition of the hands. Similar signs of an immersion foot can be found.

What kind of injuries are ""freezing"" injuries?

The mildest type of a freezing cold injury is called frostnip. It happens when exposed skin, such as ear lobes, noses, lips, fingers, or toes, freezes on the surface. The affected area's skin becomes lighter than the surrounding skin, and it may experience pain or stinging before going numb. Additionally to looking tough, skin may also appear shiny and pink. Although the deeper tissue seems normal, the surface layer of skin feels rigid (soft). It serves as a precursor to the onset of frostbite. By donning warm clothing and footwear, one can avoid getting frostnip. Gent rewarming is used to treat it (e.g., holding the affected tissue next to unaffected skin of the victim or of another person). As with other cold-related injury, avoid rubbing the affected areas because doing so could injure the tissue from ice crystals in the tissue. To rewarm the surroundings or the person, avoid using hot objects like hot water bottles. Frostbite is a common wound brought on by being exposed to the cold or coming into contact with icy things (especially those made of metal). It can also happen at room temperature when exposed to compressed or chilled gases. Skin may feel colder than the surrounding area and appear waxy. It could feel tougher to the touch as well. Blood circulation in the affected tissue may cease, and blood vessels may sustain severe and long-lasting damage. In mild cases, the symptoms include painful skin patches with skin irritation. In extreme circumstances, blisters may form as a result of burning or prickling sensations or tissue damage without pain. Due to the high risk of infection, gangrene, or the localized death of soft tissues from a lack of blood supply, may occur on frostbitten skin.

How can I administer first aid to someone who has frostbite?

Never disregard numbness when administering first aid for trenchfoot, immersion, or frostbite. You should act right once to warm the region if you experience numbness or tingling. If at all feasible, shift the victim to a warm location (for instance, put your hands under your armpits or pull your arms into the inside of your jacket for closer touch with the body). Dry off your clothes, then gently loosen or take off any jewelry or anything that may be limiting your blood flow. Warm the person by dressing them in dry garments or by enveloping them in blankets. Embrace the neck and head. Warm the subject gradually. Avoid direct heat since it might cause skin burns. Cover the impacted area loosely with a sterile dressing. To prevent them from adhering together and to absorb moisture, place a piece of gauze between your fingers and toes. Give the person something to drink if they appear alert. Check for signs of hypothermia and seek medical attention. If necessary quickly transport the victim to an emergency care facility. Treat the person gently and monitor breathing DO NOT attempt to rewarm the affected frostbite area on site (but do try to stop the area from becoming any colder) - without the proper medical care, tissue that has been warmed may refreeze and cause more damage. DO NOT thaw the area if it may freeze again. DO NOT rub area or apply snow. DO NOT allow the victim to drink alcohol or smoke.

What is hypothermia?

In moderately cold environments, the body's core temperature does not usually fall more than 1°C to 2°C below the normal 37°C because of the body's ability to adapt. However, in intense cold without adequate clothing, the body is unable to compensate for the heat loss and the body's core temperature starts to fall. The sensation of cold followed by pain in exposed parts of the body is one the first signs of mild hypothermia. As the temperature continues to drop or as the exposure time increases, the feeling of cold and pain starts to diminish because of increasing numbness (loss of sensation). If no pain can be felt, serious injury can occur without the victim's noticing it. Next, muscular weakness and drowsiness are experienced. Additional symptoms of hypothermia include interruption of shivering, diminished consciousness and dilated pupils. As hypothermia progresses, severe symptoms may occur, including death.

What are the signs of hypothermia?

Canadian Red Cross lists the levels of cold stress to include:

Cold stress (not hypothermic) Shivering Normal mental status Able to care for self Mild hypothermia Vigorous shivering and complaining of the cold Decreased physical function Difficulty taking care of selfModerate hypothermia Weak and intermittent shivering, or shivering that later stops Sometimes complaining of the cold Lack of coordination or speech; confused or unusual behaviours Impaired judgement Possible unresponsiveness Severe hypothermia Shivering has stopped Unresponsiveness; breathing has slowed down or stopped Body feels stiff No pulse

What first aid can I do for hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a medical emergency. At the first sign, find medical help immediately. The survival of the victim depends on their co-workers ability to recognize the symptoms of hypothermia. The victim is generally not able to notice his or her own condition. First aid for hypothermia includes the following steps: Seek medical help immediately. Hypothermia is a medical emergency. Check for ABC - Airway, breathing and circulation. Handle the person gently. Do not massage or rub the skin. Allow them to lay down. No standing or walking. Move the person out of the cold, and/or insulate the person (e.g., by applying a hypothermia wrap). Warm by carefully applying warm water bottles, heating pads or electric blankets to the upper body (such as the armpits, chest, and upper back). Wrap items in towels or clothing if available. Body heat from another person can also help in an emergency. DO NOT rewarm the person too quickly (e.g., do not use a heating lamp or stove, or soak in a hot bath/shower). Give high calorie food or drinks (caffeine-free, non-alcoholic) ONLY if the individual has mild hypothermia (e.g., when the person is conscious and responsive). Perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) if the victim tops breathing. Continue to provide CPR until medical aid is available. The body slows when it is very cold and in some cases, hypothermia victims that have appeared """"dead"""" have been successfully resuscitated.

What is meant by a hypothermic wrap?

Canadian Red Cross suggests the following supplies for a hypothermia wrap: a tarp or plastic sheet to act as a vapour barrier an insulated ground pad a hooded sleeping bag (or equivalent) another plastic or foil sheet (2x3 metres) to act as a vapour barrier inside the sleeping bag source of heat (e.g., warm water in bottle or hydration bladder, chemical heating pads) When the person has dry or damp clothing, leave the clothing on. When the person has very wet clothing, if shelter and transport are: less than 30 minutes away, then wrap the person immediately more than 30 minutes away, protect the person from the environment, remove wet clothing, and apply wrap. To apply a hypothermia wrap: place an insulation pad (or pads) between the person and the ground apply as much insulation as possible. Add extra clothing and wrap the person in blankets or sleeping bags cover the person's head and neck with a toque, heavy hat, or hood place a vapour barrier (plastic or foil) outside the insulation wrap if the person is dry. If the person is still wet, place the vapour barrier inside the insulation wrap. If you have two vapour barriers, place one inside and one outside the insulation wrap."""
 

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"First Aid and the Health Effects of Cold Environments" was written by Mary under the Cebu Language category. It has been read 33 times and generated 0 comments. The article was created on and updated on 23 November 2022.
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