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The silver side of a rescue blanket reflects light and infrared-light, thus preventing heat to escape from the wrapped patient. The golden sight absorbs light and heats up a bit. This should help the patients with hypothermia. Which way to put it and how it works has been discussed here.

However, as the rescue blanket is also used as a first aid item, I can imagine that in the heat of the entire situation, someone might confuse the sides and wrap the patient the wrong way round (Most blankets come with a user manual, but most people don’t even read the manual of theirs oven...). In the linked post, some users claim that this will prevent hyperthermia, basically the opposite of the desired effect. On the other hand, I have heard people claim that a rescue blanket the other way round will still preserve most heat, just not as well.

If a rescue blanket was applied the wrong way round, what is it’s degree of effectivity?

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  • The closest I could come to a towel, and an interesting question I think. – Narusan May 25 '18 at 16:50
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Apparently, the difference is not very severe:

Die Regel: Kälteschutz: Silberseite nach innen, Sonnenschutz: Silberseite nach außen wird auch von Herstellern angegeben. Jedoch ist der Unterschied in der IR-Reflexion laut Untersuchungen vernachlässigbar und soll nur einen Unterschied von 1°C bewirken können, wobei die silber-farbene Seite zu 99% und die gold-farbene Seite zu 97% IR-Wärmestrahlung reflektieren soll.

Generally, the silver side should be turned outwards as cold protection and the golden side as heat protection. Nevertheless, the difference in IR-reflections are - according to studies - irrelevant and only lead to a difference of 1°C, whereas the silver side reflects 99% of heat radiation and golden side 97% respectively.

Source: Product Description at MediCounter

More or less the same text can be found at the German wikipedia entry, where a pamphlet from the Hans-Hepp Company is sourced, but I haven't yet found the pamphlet.

Other producers claim that only 85% of body heat are reflected. I have contacted both shops and both state that the production team gave them the numbers and that they have no knowledge of studies/tests performed to back this up.

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