Red Cross warns of increased risk of hypothermia
PUBLISHED: 12:01 08 February 2009 | UPDATED: 22:59 15 June 2010
People could be at increased risk of hypothermia during the cold snap, the British Red Cross has warned. In addition, the increased number of falls and accidents due to icy conditions are placing pressure on the emergency services, making it vital for the
People could be at increased risk of hypothermia during the cold snap, the British Red Cross has warned.In addition, the increased number of falls and accidents due to icy conditions are placing pressure on the emergency services, making it vital for the public to be aware of what actions they should take, especially during National First Aid Awareness Week.The charity issued the warning as the heaviest snowfall to hit the UK in 18 years swept across the country, with more snow forecast for this week.The Red Cross said anyone becoming trapped in their car, or at home without adequate heating or power could develop hypothermia and has issued advice to help people recognise the condition.Joe Mulligan, British Red Cross Head of First Aid, said:"Hypothermia is caused by prolonged exposure to the cold and develops when the body temperature falls below 35C (95F). Although the risk of hypothermia is greater outdoors, it can also develop indoors in poorly heated homes. Elderly people, infants and those who are thin and frail are particularly vulnerable. The condition is easy to treat, but it's important to be aware of the symptoms, which include: shivering; cold, pale skin; apathy and disorientation; slow and shallow breathing and slow and weakening pulse."The Red Cross said people who develop hypothermia should be re-warmed slowly.Mr Mulligan continued: "Cover the person with blankets - and a hat, if possible - and warm the room. Give the casualty a warm drink and/or high-energy foods, such as chocolate. Call 999 or 112 for emergency help. Remember in elderly people, hypothermia may also be disguising the symptoms of a stroke or heart attack.