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Preventing and Managing Hypothermia and Frostbite Injury.

Sports Health 2016 March
CONTEXT: Hypothermia and frostbite injuries occur in cold weather activities and sporting events.

EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A PubMed search was used to identify original research and review articles related to cold, frostbite, and hypothermia. Inclusion was based on their relevance to prevention and treatment of cold-related injuries in sports and outdoor activities. Dates of review articles were limited to those published after 2010. No date limit was set for the most recent consensus statements or original research.

STUDY DESIGN: Clinical review.


RESULTS: Frostbite and hypothermia are well-documented entities with good prevention strategies and prehospital treatment recommendations that have changed very little with time. A layered approach to clothing is the best way to prevent injury and respond to weather changes. Each athlete, defined as a participant in a cold weather sport or activity, will respond to cold differently depending on anthropometric measurements and underlying medical risk factors. An understanding of wind-chill temperatures, wetness, and the weather forecast allows athletes and event coordinators to properly respond to changing weather conditions. At the first sign of a freezing cold injury, ensure warm, dry clothes and move to a protected environment.

CONCLUSION: Cold injuries can be prevented, and cold weather activities are safe with proper education, preparation, and response to changing weather conditions or injury.

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