TIP of the WEEK: Hypothermia and PWS

January 3, 2014

Hypothermia is a serious medical emergency that occurs when your body cannot produce heat as quickly as it loses heat. Your nervous system and all internal organs are effected when hypothermia sets in. Hypothermia in PWS can set in sooner and be more difficult to diagnose and because of this it is imperative that winter time precautions are in place. The following are the symptoms of hypothermia in the typical population as well as in the person with PWS:

•lack of coordination
•drowsiness and or low energy
•slow breathing or shallow breathing
•very weak pulse
•body temperature below 95 degrees

In the person with PWS, lack of coordination, weak pulse, shallow breathing and low energy may be baseline so it is important to tell any medical professional what the person’s typical presentation looks like. It may also be difficult for a person with PWS to accurately describe the pain they are feeling.

Here are some precautions that you may want to take:

•Keep an emergency box in your car including blankets and hand and feet warmers. Many people experience hypothermia and frost bite when their car breaks down in frigid temperatures.

•If your child runs away often, consider a GPS location bracelet or anklet so they can be found easily. This device has saved lives.

•Plan ahead for storms and inclement weather so you are able to stay indoors. If you need to leave home consider having someone come to your home to watch your child instead of having them leave the house. It only takes a few minutes of exposure to cause serious damage.

If you suspect that your child may be suffering from hypothermia call for emergency medical help immediately.

Submitted by:
Patrice Carroll
Manager PWS Services

Related Posts:
Preparing for Winter
Winter Activities 
Transitioning to Winter

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