g. Record Treatment. Record the casualty's signs and symptoms and the
treatment administered on a DD Form 1380, U.S. Field Medical Card. Attach the Field
Medical Card to the casualty's clothing prior to evacuation.
h. Evacuate. The casualty should be evacuated to a medical treatment facility
as soon as possible.
(1) Do not allow a casualty with frostbitten feet to walk if he can be
evacuated by vehicle, litter, or manual carry.
(2) If the casualty must wear wet socks or boots during evacuation and his
feet have been thawed, have him exercise by continually wiggling his toes.
5-11. IDENTIFY GENERALIZED HYPOTHERMIA
Generalized hypothermia occurs when the entire body, not just a part, cools to an
abnormal level. Generalized hypothermia is a medical emergency. A soldier who is in
excellent condition can die in a matter of minutes from severe hypothermia. As the
body cools, the blood circulation in the limbs is impaired, shock develops,
unconsciousness occurs, and the heart eventually ceases to beat. Being immersed in
cold water for too long a period of time, such as being thrown into cold ocean water
after a shipwreck, is one cause of generalized hypothermia. Another cause is the
gradual cooling of the body in cool or cold weather over a period of time. This can
occur when the casualty is wearing inadequate clothing to stop heat loss and he does
not take measures to rewarm his body. Hypothermia is more likely to occur when the
casualty is exposed to wind and when his clothing is wet.
a. Low Body Temperature. The presence of generalized hypothermia can
usually be determined by taking the casualty's temperature rectally. The rectal method
measures the temperature of the interior of the casualty's body (core body
temperature). A rectal temperature below 95F (35C) indicates that generalized
hypothermia is occurring. (A thermometer designed to measure low body temperatures
may be needed in order to get an accurate temperature reading.) In a cold field
environment, an accurate temperature reading may be difficult or impossible to obtain.
In such cases, you must rely upon other signs and symptoms of generalized
b. Shivering. Shivering is caused by the involuntary contractions of muscles. It
indicates the body is loosing heat faster than it is producing heat. Shivering indicates a
milder case of hypothermia. As the core temperature continues to drop, the shivering
c. Weak Pulse. The casualty's pulse may be weak. In more serious cases, you
may not be able to detect the pulse at peripheral points such as the wrist or ankle.