We have noticed a number of our friends on Facebook holidaying in Canada, Japan and the USA – It’s good for some. You guys do know we have some great beaches here on the Sunshine Coast, don’t you?

We are very jealous seeing everyone hanging out in the snow; however, we also want to know that you can stay safe and help others to do the same. So, here are some tips for treating casualties in the snow. 

The two main risks are frostbite and hypothermia (if you are really special, the third is getting your tongue stuck to a metal pole – we might skip that lesson today).

Frostbite

Frostbite occurs when skin tissue freezes after exposure to extremely cold weather.

The extremities, such as the hands and feet, are at greater risk because they are more susceptible to heat loss.

Symptoms of frostbite include cold, hard and white skin, and numbness.

Treatment:

  • Move to a warm area (Sunshine Coast might be too far) and prevent refreezing
  • Call 911 in USA or Canada (that would be 000 in Australia)
  • Rewarm with body heat until the patient can be evacuated to a controlled environment
  • If possible, rapidly rewarm the affected area in circulating water or using warm wash cloths (37°C–39°C is ideal) for about 30–40 minutes
  • Once thawed, wrap the affected area in clean bandages
  • Administer pain relief
  • Do not break blisters, and do not allow the person to walk on frostbitten toes
  • Monitor for hypothermia

Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature.

Treatment for Hypothermia:

  • Call 911 in USA or Canada (that would be 000 in Australia)
  • Move to shelter and seek protection from wind
  • Carefully remove any wet clothing and dry the casualty
  • Wrap them in warm blankets, towels, or coats (whatever you have available), protecting their head and torso first
  • If possible, give the person warm (non-alcoholic) drinks or high-energy foods such as chocolate, but only if they can swallow normally
  • Once the person’s body temperature has increased, keep them warm and dry
  • Do not place them in a warm bath or near a heater and do not massage the person

Remember – the best treatment is prevention:

  • Check the forecast for expected temperatures and tailor your expedition to suit conditions.
  • Wear multiple layers; loose clothing is best as it allows heat to circulate around the body. The first layer should keep you dry. The next layer (on top of that) should be an insulating material like wool or fleece. The outer layer should be wind- and water-proof.

Our Fist Aid and CPR training courses are run at our Birtinya training centre and at a location in Noosa. To book into your next first aid course please book online via our secure website or phone 07 5438 8888.

We also visit workplaces across the sunshine coast and deliver training on-site. If you are a Sunshine Coast workplace requiring your staff to have a current first aid certificate get in touch now.

To find out more about on-site workplace training and obtain a group quote please visit our website.

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8/10 Capital Place
Birtinya QLD 4575


ABN 63 114 756 857
ACN 114 756 857