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- Risk Factors
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 F (37 C). Hypothermia (hi-poe-THUR-me-uh) occurs as your body temperature falls below 95 F (35 C). When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can't work normally. Left untreated, hypothermia can lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and eventually to death. Hypothermia is often caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in cold water. Primary treatments for hypothermia are methods to warm the body back to a normal temperature.
Shivering is likely the first thing you'll notice as the temperature starts to drop because it's your body's automatic defense against cold temperature — an attempt to warm itself. Signs and symptoms of hypothermia include: 1. Shivering 2. Slurred speech or mumbling 3. Slow, shallow breathing 4. Weak pulse 5. Clumsiness or lack of coordination 6. Drowsiness or very low energy 7. Confusion or memory loss 8. Loss of consciousness 9. Bright red, cold skin (in infants) Someone with hypothermia usually isn't aware of his or her condition because the symptoms often begin gradually. Also, the confused thinking associated with hypothermia prevents self-awareness. The confused thinking can also lead to risk-taking behavior.
Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it produces it. The most common causes of hypothermia are exposure to cold-weather conditions or cold water. But prolonged exposure to any environment colder than your body can lead to hypothermia if you aren't dressed appropriately or can't control the conditions. Specific conditions leading to hypothermia include: 1. Wearing clothes that aren't warm enough for weather conditions 2. Staying out in the cold too long 3. Being unable to get out of wet clothes or move to a warm, dry location 4. Falling into the water, as in a boating accident 5. Living in a house that's too cold, either from poor heating or too much air conditioning
Risk factors for hypothermia include: 1. Exhaustion.Your tolerance for cold diminishes when you are fatigued. 2. Older age.The body's ability to regulate temperature and to sense cold may lessen with age. And some older adults may not be able to communicate when they are cold or to move to a warm location if they do feel cold. 3. Very young age.Children lose heat faster than adults do. Children may also ignore the cold because they're having too much fun to think about it. And they may not have the judgment to dress properly in cold weather or to get out of the cold when they should. 4. Mental problems.People with a mental illness, dementia or other conditions that interfere with judgment may not dress appropriately for the weather or understand the risk of cold weather. People with dementia may wander from home or get lost easily, making them more likely to be stranded outside in cold or wet weather. 5. Alcohol and drug use. Alcohol may make your body feel warm inside, but it cause...
People who develop hypothermia because of exposure to cold weather or cold water are also vulnerable to other cold-related injuries, including: 1. Freezing of body tissues (frostbite) 2. Decay and death of tissue resulting from an interruption in blood flow (gangrene)
Staying warm in cold weather
Before you or your children step out into cold air, remember the advice that follows with the simple acronym COLD — cover, overexertion, layers, dry: 1. Cover.Wear a hat or other protective covering to prevent body heat from escaping from your head, face and neck. Cover your hands with mittens instead of gloves. 2. Overexertion.Avoid activities that would cause you to sweat a lot. The combination of wet clothing and cold weather can cause you to lose body heat more quickly. 3. Layers.Wear loo...
Keeping children safe from the cold
To help prevent hypothermia when children are outside in the winter: 1. Dress infants and young children in one more layer than an adult would wear in the same conditions. 2. Bring children indoors if they start shivering — that's the first sign that hypothermia is starting. 3. Have children come inside frequently to warm themselves when they're playing outside. 4. Don't let babies sleep in a cold room.
Winter car safety
Whenever you're traveling during bad weather, be sure someone knows where you're headed and at what time you're expected to arrive. That way, if you get into trouble on your way, emergency responders will know where to look for your car. It's also a good idea to keep emergency supplies in your car in case you get stranded. Supplies may include several blankets, matches, candles, a clean can where you can melt snow into drinking water, a first-aid kit, dry or canned food, a can opener, tow rop...
Definition Hypothermia, a potentially fatal condition, occurs when body temperature falls below 95°F (35°C).
Hypothermia definition is - subnormal temperature of the body. How to use hypothermia in a sentence.
noun pathol an abnormally low body temperature, as induced in the elderly by exposure to cold weather med the intentional reduction of normal body temperature, as by ice packs, to reduce the patient's metabolic rate: performed esp in heart and brain surgery
Hypothermia is defined as a body core temperature below 35.0 °C (95.0 °F) in humans. Symptoms depend on the temperature. In mild hypothermia, there is shivering and mental confusion. In moderate hypothermia, shivering stops and confusion increases.
Hypothermia is a condition that occurs when the body’s temperature drops below 95° F (35° C). Normal body temperature is 98.6° F (37° C). Hypothermia is a medical emergency. When a person’s body temperature is dangerously low, the brain and body cannot function properly.
Normal body temperature averages 98.6 degrees. With hypothermia, core temperature drops below 95 degrees. In severe hypothermia, core body temperature can drop to 82 degrees or lower.
During exposure to cold temperatures, most heat loss -- up to 90% -- escapes through your skin; the rest, you exhale from your lungs. Heat loss through the skin happens primarily through radiation and speeds up when skin is exposed to wind or moisture. If cold exposure is due to being immersed in cold water, heat loss can occur 25 times faster than it would if exposed to the same air temperature.
The hypothalamus, the brain's temperature-control center, works to raise body temperature by triggering processes that heat and cool the body. During cold temperature exposure, shivering is a protective response to produce heat through muscle activity. In another heat-preserving response -- called vasoconstriction -- blood vessels temporarily narrow.
Normally, the activity of the heart and liver produce most of your body heat. But as core body temperature cools, these organs produce less heat, in essence causing a protective \\"shut down\\" to preserve heat and protect the brain. Low body temperature can slow brain activity, breathing, and heart rate.
Confusion and fatigue can set in, hampering a person's ability to understand what's happening and make intelligent choices to get to safety.
- Causes of Hypothermia
- Symptoms of Hypothermia
- Treatment Options
The most common cause of hypothermia is exposure to cold weather for extended periods of time. This exposure causes the body to lose heat faster than it can be replaced, producing a net loss in body heat. Cold, winter air and cold water can both stimulate hypothermia. We usually think of winter weather when we hear about hypothermic cases, but it's also possible to experience hypothermia during the summer months! A common scenario is hikers setting out for a day trip, getting lost or facing unexpected inclement weather, and having to spend the night outside, ill equipped for wind or dropping night temperatures. Hypothermia can happen even when it's niceoutside, not just when the weather is snowy and below-freezing.
Initial signs of hypothermia include those commonly experienced when you're cold. These include shaking, shivering, nausea, increased heart rate or breathing, fatigue, lack of coordination, and difficulty thinking or speaking. Your body is trying to figure out ways to warm itself up and it will try to keep as much blood in the core as possible. Hypothermia can progress, and symptoms will also intensify. Shivering may increase in intensity; confusion or drowsiness may get more pronounced; the heart rate and breathing rate will slow down; and speech will slow or stop. At this stage, the body may take on a slight blue appearance. Once hypothermia has reached its most intense stages, the person may lose consciousness, lose all sense of reality, and even believe they are too warm, causing them to strip off their clothing in a misguided attempt at helping themselves. They are also at the risk of experiencing frost bite or gangrene if the blood flow stops. Eventually, if not treated, hypot...
How is hypothermia treated? If the person is wet, removing the wet clothes is critical because more body heat is lost in water than in air. Obviously, the goal is to warm them up through the use of blankets, warm compresses, or other body heat. If compresses are used, they should only be used around the core of the body rather than the limbs. Applying direct heat is never advised.
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