First Aid

Seeing the Signs of Hypothermia

Drinking water can help with dehydration issues like headache and muscle pain
Written by Nancy

Medical emergencies call for medical professionals. However, it’s not always that a doctor or a hospital is immediately accessible. In Coquitlam, BC, the average response time for an ambulance is almost eleven minutes. Critical intervention by an individual with first aid certification makes all the difference in these cases.

Metro Safety Training wants you to know that in cases where it’s possible, call for help sooner rather than later. To do that, you need to be able to recognize the first signs of illness. Hypothermia, for example, can be fatal if not tended to immediately. Unfortunately, the symptoms are easy to overlook.

While Red Cross First Aid courses may have taught you about critical intervention, that will only help you stabilize the patient while waiting for emergency services. If you’d like to start making your community a safer place, check out their course calendar.

How Do You Identify Hypothermic Persons?

The symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow and shallow breathes
  • Low  pulse rate
  • Lack of hand-eye coordination
  • Rapidly increasing fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion and affected memory
  • Losing  consciousness

Since symptoms set in slowly and escalate gradually, it’s rare for the hypothermic person to be aware of their condition. Furthermore, things like shivering and general clumsiness aren’t considered causes for alarm, especially in cold weather. Furthermore, the confusion will stymie any thought processes that would help them realize that they need help.

That’s why it’s imperative to keep an eye on anyone showing even the vaguest symptoms.

What Are The Risk Factors?

An additional step to avoid missing hypothermia is to be extra cautious of people who fall into the following categories:

  • People who aren’t dressed warmly enough or are wearing wet clothes
  • People who are exhausted
  • Elderly people
  • Children under ten
  • Inebriated people
  • People who have ailments such as Parkinson’s, arthritis, or hypothyroidism

How Should You Intervene?

Check, call, and care is the philosophy preached by practiced first responders. First, check and evaluate the symptoms. Try to engage with the patient to see how affected they are.

The very first step you take should be to call for an ambulance. Explain to the person on the phone exactly why you believe someone is hypothermic. Also, mention if they have preexisting conditions that you know of.

Once you’ve done this, lean on your safety training if you have any to care for the patient. Try to keep the problem from progressing until help arrives.

 Toy ambulance


Occupational First Aid Level 3 courses teach the highest level of first aid. It gives you nationally-recognized certification for three years, after which you have the option to get a renewal. Metro Safety Training in Coquitlam is BBB-accredited and offers a variety of courses. Check out their website, or call them at 604-521-4227.

From Red Cross CPR courses, Workplace safety training, and fall protection inspection training, they’ve got everyone covered.

About the author


I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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