Drugs Are the New Blankets

July 13, 2009

Science Daily today posted a study summary that concludes “that simply warming the skin [with a blanket] can decrease shivering in many patients, without the need for drugs.

What does this say about the state of our treatment regimens when before a shivering person is given a blanket she is given drugs?

It tells me that hospitals have a knee jerk reaction to giving drugs and give them for anything immediately. I think it’s safe to say that most people at home taking care of a sick family member who is shivering would get him or her a blanket.

Apparently this has to be proven to the healthcare industry and the article goes on to quote a clinician who actually has to explain the benefits of using a blanket over medication:

“[the blanket's] simplicity, low cost, widespread availability, lack of adverse effects, and the potential to avoid sedation … make it an attractive treatment option.”

It looks like instead of studies that focus on developing new treatments, we are having to backtrack to correct treatment mistakes of several years. Of course there have got to be treatment manuals with guidelines for helping patients, but who could blame the writers of these manuals for assuming doctors and nurses would have the basic human decency to get someone a blanket if she is cold?

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3 Responses to “Drugs Are the New Blankets”

  1. morsec0de Says:

    I could see the reason for the issue by reading the article. If you’re cooling a patient in order to assist in their healing, you could logically think that putting a blanket on them would warm them up and thus partially negate the cooling process. So they would use drugs to stop the discomfort of the shivering while still allowing the cooling to continue.

    If using blankets doesn’t significantly change the cooling, then no one ever sat down and did the numbers, which is kind of stupid.


  2. Thanks for your comment. It is pretty stupid, all it takes is trying a blanket for a few minutes. How much damage can a blanket do? So if it warms them up and interferes with the cooling process, take it off and only minutes are lost. But forcing the patient to ingest a chemical with known and unknown side effects that could last some indeterminate time before trying something as simple and logical and empathetic as a blanket, it almost seems inhumane.

  3. DianRibut Says:

    hello from indonesia. . .
    nice post,keep posting. . :D


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