First Aid Techniques
At the Emergency Scene
Action in An Emergency
Assessing a Casualty
Maintaining Airway,
Breathing, and Circulation
What to do When Somebody has Collapsed
The recovery Position for
The recovery Position for
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Rescue Breathing for Adults
Rescue Breathing for
Children and Babies
CPR for Adults
CPR for Children and Babies
Choking in Adults
Choking in Children
Choking in Babies
Everyday First Aid
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More on Bites and Stings
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Storing and Using Medication
Commonly Prescribed
What They Do and Side
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The Complementary
Medicine Chest
Extreme Cold

Hypothermia, a condition that occurs when the body temperature falls below the normal range, is caused by a low surrounding temperature and can lead to death. Freezing temperatures cause frostbite, whereby ice forms in the body tissue and destroys it. The risk of frostbite is increased by windy conditions.


Hypothermia (low temperature) occurs when the body temperature falls below normal range, and can lead to death. The average temperature of a healthy adult is 96.8-100.4°F. Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature falls below 95°F. Survival is unlikely, but not unheard of, below 79°F.

There are number of factors that heighten the risk of becoming hypothermic. These include

  • Age

The elderly are greater risk from hypothermia: low mobility combined with poor circulation, a reduced sensitivity to the cold, and greater potential for slips and falls means that an elderly person may develop hypothermia in temperatures that a healthy younger adult could tolerate.

The very young are also at an increased risk because the mechanisms for controlling their own body temperature are poorly developed. They may look healthy but their skin will feel cold and their behavior may be abnormally quiet or listless.

  • Exposure to wind or rain
  • Immersion in cold water
  • Lack of food
  • Alcohol and drugs


If a person is suffering from hypothermia, replace damp clothing if necessary, wrap up well, and give high energy foods and hot drinks to restore body temperature to normal.


Early signs:

  • Shivering
  • Pale, cold skin
  • Cold environment
  • Presence of an increased risk factor as listed left

As the condition gets worse:

  • No shivering, even though the person is cold
  • Increasing drowsiness
  • Irrational behavior and confusion
  • Slow, shallow breathing
  • Slow, weak pulse


If the person is unconscious

Open the airway and check for breathing. Be prepared to resuscitate if necessary. Hypothermia slows the body’s functions down before stopping the heart, and it is therefore not uncommon to hear for people with hypothermia being successfully resuscitated some time after the heart has stopped.

If the person is conscious

  1. Improve the surroundings. If the person is outdoors, bring them in or take them to shelter. If the person is indoors, warm the room but do not overheat (77°F).

  2. Replace wet clothes with dry warm clothing if possible.

  3. A healthy adult may be best re warmed by soaking in a warm bath of 104°F. Do not use this technique on an elderly person or a child.

  4. Wrap the person up and give high energy foods and warm drinks. Remember that heat is lost through the extremities so cover the head, hands, and feet.

  5. Check for the other conditions or injuries that may have occurred. The confusion caused by hypothermia may mask other sign and symptoms. If there is no improvement, or the level of consciousness deteriorates, seek medical advice. For young children and the elderly, who are particularly vulnerable, always seek medical attention if you suspect hypothermia. Warm them slowly.


Keep the person warm and provide with high energy foods and warm drinks.


Frostbite occurs in freezing conditions and is the freezing of the body tissue at the extremities, most commonly the fingers, toes, and earlobes. If it is not treated early enough it can lead to gangrene and top amputation. Frostbitten skin is highly susceptible to infection.


  1. Remove tight items such as rings and watches that may further damage circulation. Warm the injured part slowly by holding it.

  2. Get the person to shelter. Do not attempt to thaw the injured part if it is liable to be re-exposed to cold, because this will do more damage.

  3. Handle the injured part carefully because the tissue is very fragile and may be easily damaged. Do not apply direct heat, rub or allow the injured person to apply pressure to (for example, do not let the person walk if the toes are affected). Place the injured part in warm water if available. Otherwise continue warming the uninjured part with your hand.

  4. Pat dry and then cover with a light gauze bandage. Remember that the injured part will exceptionally painful for the victim.

  5. Raise the injured part to help alleviate pain and swelling and allow the injured person to take acetaminophen if able to.

  6. Watch for hypothermia and treat as appropriate.

  7. Seek medical attention, particularly if the site of the freezing does not regain a healthy color is black.



  • Freezing environment

Early signs

  • Tingling
  • Pale skin

As the condition gets worse

  • Numbness
  • Hardening of the skin
  • Skin color changes to whit through blue and finally black
When thawed, the injures part is extremely painful and there may be blistering of the skin.
Vomiting and Diarrhea

First Aid Procedures
Breathing Difficulties
Anaphylactic Shock
Heart Problems
Treatment of External Bleeding
Bleeding from the Head or
Treating Chest or Abdominal
Crush Injuries, Impalement,
and Amputation
Internal Bleeding
Eye Wounds and Embedded
Bleeding from Special Sites
Controlling Bleeding from the Mouth and Nose
Fractures, Discolorations, and
Soft Tissue Injuries
How to Treat Fractures
Fractures of the Skull, Face,
and Jaw
Fractures of the Upper Body
Fractures of the Arm and Hand
Fractures of the Ribcage
Recognizing Back and Spinal
If you have to move the Victim
Unconscious Victim
Injuries to the Lower Body
Injuries to the Lower Leg
Sprains and Strains
Burns and Scalds
Treating Other Types of Burn
Chemical Burns and Eye Burns
Extreme Cold
Extreme Heat
Poisoning from Household
Poisoning from Industrial
Drug Poisoning
Alcohol Poisoning
Food Poisoning
Emergency Childbirth
Wilderness First Aid
What to Do if You are a Long Way from Help
Wilderness First Aid
Avalanche and Snow Survival Techniques
Cold Water Survival
Stretcher Improvising
Loading and Carrying a
One-and-Two-Person Carries
Helicopter Rescue