Hypothermia

July 2017


Definition


Hypothermia is defined as the decrease in core body temperature. In humans, the normal temperature varies between individuals and during the day should be between 36∞ C and 37.5∞ C. When the temperature is below 35∞ C there is talk of hypothermia. Hypothermia follows body exposure to intense cold for long periods of time. In response to this exposure, the body will increase its heat production through shivering and will focus on the blood supply to the most important organs. Note that contrary to popular belief, taking alcohol does not warm the body, but rather decreases its capacity to adapt to hypothermia.

Symptoms


Symptoms of hypothermia include:
  • a drop in body temperature;
  • cold skin;
  • chills;
  • frostbite of the extremities;
  • a decrease in blood pressure;
  • a decrease in heart rate;
  • slow breathing;
  • a coma at an advanced stage;
  • or even cardiac arrest.

Diagnosis


The diagnosis of hypothermia is based on the measurement of body temperature with a thermometer from 28∞ C.

Treatment


In the case of hypothermia, the subject should be warmed using isothermal survival blanket and placed in a warm place. Blankets and mattresses can be used with caution. In more advanced cases, a care in the intensive care unit with establishment of circulatory support will help. Warming should be gradual because of the possible serious complications of changes in temperature that are too abrupt, such as cardiac arrhythmias.

Prevention


To prevent hypothermia, it is essential to thoroughly cover up in case of expected exposure to low temperatures.

Related

Published by Jeff. Latest update on November 12, 2013 at 05:09 AM by Jeff.
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