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Hypothermia - Recognition and Prevention

Hypothermia occurs when the body's normal temperature (98.6 degrees Fahrenheit) drops to less than 95 degrees. Exposure to cold temperatures can cause the body to lose heat faster than it can be produced.

Prolonged exposure to cold eventually will use up the body's stored energy resulting in hypothermia. Hypothermia is most likely at very cold temperatures, but it can occur even at cool temperatures above 40 degrees. This happens when a person becomes chilled from rain, sweat or immersion in cold water.

Symptoms of hypothermia include:

- Uncontrollable and intense shivering.

- Loss of coordination.

- Mental confusion.

- Slurred speech.

- Irregular heart rate or breathing.

- Weak pulse.

- Unconsciousness.

Should you recognize these symptoms in yourself or a coworker, respond accordingly.

Take the following actions:

- Call 911 immediately in an emergency.

- Move the worker to a warm, dry area.

- Remove any wet clothing and replace with dry clothing.

- Wrap the entire body in layers or blankets.

- If medical assistance is more than 30 minutes away, provide warm drinks if the victim is alert. This will help increase body temperature.

- Place warm bottles or hot packs near armpits, sides of the chest, and groin.

- Follow instructions from 911 assistance.



Source: Joe Mlynek is president of Progressive Safety Services LLC, Gates Mills, OH:, and content creation expert for Safety Made Simple Inc., Olathe, KS;


This Safety Tip of the Week is sponsored by: Lewis Goetz



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Safety Tip of the Week is edited by Managing Editor Tucker Scharfenberg and published each Monday by Grain Journal, Decatur, IL

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