Sometimes, despite your best efforts to prevent hypothermia, symptoms can present themselves anyway, especially in small children. Remember that hypothermia is a big deal – it’s a medical emergency that requires immediate attention by a medical professional. Once you’ve identified hypothermia symptoms, call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number and follow these steps immediately.
- Get out of the water and get to a warm place.
- Remove wet clothing.
- Gradually rewarm your body by wrapping yourself in blankets or putting on dry clothes.
- Cover your head to prevent further heat loss.
- Be careful not to rewarm yourself too quickly. Rapid rewarming can cause dangerous heart rhythms.
- Drink warm nonalcoholic and decaffeinated liquids.
- If you’re caring for someone else and they are unconscious, monitor their breathing and pulse. Be prepared to give rescue breathing or CPR.
For more, read Basic Water Rescue, a booklet published by the American Red Cross.