Hypo Blog

Blowup Mattresses, Burritos & Buddies: What Works To Treat Hypothermia?

Question: In mountain or cold weather rescue situations, can I use a blow-up mattress when wrapping someone who’s hypothermic in a “burrito”? What about buddy warming?

Survival Med’s Answer: There are many ways to manage hypothermia. Let’s discuss two common methods:

Insulation from Ground: Any insulating wrap, including a blow-up mattress, can serve as the first layer of a hypothermia “burrito” to protect the patient from the cold ground. The key is ensuring that the wrapping device fully encases the patient.

Buddy Warming: While adding a warm person to the wrap may not harm the patient, studies show mixed results on its effectiveness. In most cases, it doesn’t seem to significantly contribute to warming the person. The primary focus should be on the three-layered wrap system, which remains crucial for effective hypothermia treatment.

The priority is providing insulation and gradually raising the patient’s core body temperature through proper wrapping techniques rather than relying solely on external heat sources.