b. After rewarming the patient, obtain chest x-rays to check for pneumonia and
skull x-rays to rule out heat injury. Pneumonia is the most common sequela (abnormal
condition resulting from a previous disease) of hypothermia.
c. Unless other injuries require treatment, a person who has had mild
hypothermia (over 92F) can simply be rewarmed and returned to duty. Those
individuals whose temperatures have been below 92F should be monitored very
closely for 24 hours. Most of these patients should remain hospitalized for three to five
days after rewarming.
Section V. SENSITIZATION TO COLD INJURIES
Frequently in all degrees of cold injury, the affected individual becomes
sensitized to further exposure to cold. With milder injuries, sensitization to cold may
persist only days or weeks, but in more severe injuries, cold sensitivity of the injured
part may be permanent. Consequently, additional precautions must be taken by a
person once injured by cold to prevent further injuries. In certain cases, true "cold
sensitivity" or "allergy" may exist. Such persons may demonstrate urticaria or "hives"
with intense burning, itching, and swelling when exposed to cold. Generally, this
happens to persons who have had a cold injury. Rarely, however, this reaction may be
a family trait or happen to a person who has plasma cryoglobulin or cold agglutinins. In
such persons, cold exposure may cause a systemic reaction of generalized urticaria,
asthma, and even shock.
5-16. WINDCHILL CHART
a. Remember that the human body is continually producing and losing heat.
Wind increases the loss of heat by reducing the thin layer of warm air next to the skin.
This loss increases as the wind speed increases. When the temperature of the air is
below freezing and the wind is such that it removes the heat faster than the body can
produce it, frostbite may occur. Thus, decreasing the air temperature or increasing the
wind speed act to increase the danger of cold injury (frostbite) to the skin. The
combined effect of wind and temperature is expressed in the windchill chart (Table 5-1)
as an equivalent temperature. This chart shows the effective temperature acting upon
b. Any movement of air past the body has the same cooling effect as wind. This
may be produced by walking, running, skiing, or riding in open vehicles. The speed of
movement must be considered, in addition to natural wind, when you are using the