Hypothermia is a condition where the temperature of the body drops below the normal range and causes problems with functions and metabolism of the body where the body will lose heat faster than it can produce more heat. The temperature of the body falls below 35 degrees C. The lowering of the temperature of the body will cause the inability of the organs in the body to function normally. If the body temperature is not restored, heart failure could happen and will result to death.
Symptoms of hypothermia
For mild hypothermia
- There are symptoms such as hypertension, shivering, tachycardia or heartbeat that is faster than the normal range as well as tachypnea which involve rapid breathing.
- Vasoconstriction which is the narrowing of the blood vessels
- There is mental confusion, difficulty in speaking, fatigue, nausea, and hunger
- A decrease in glucose consumption and insulin production that is also known as hyperglycemia
For moderate hypothermia
The symptoms of moderate hypothermia include the lips, ears, fingers and toes turning blue, a violent shivering and there is uncoordinated muscles, slowed and difficult movements, mild confusion and the skin is turning pale.
For severe hypothermia
There are symptoms such as difficulty in speaking, slow in thinking and there is difficulty in using the hands. Some major organs of the body fail to function such as low blood pressure and falling heart and respiratory rate. The muscle coordination is poor, and there is difficulty in walking. The exposed skin is turning blue and puffy, amnesia and incoherent and irrational behavior. The person can be clinically dead in some cases.
Hypothermia usually happens when a person is exposed to extreme cold, harsh weather or cold water. It causes the body to lose heat faster than it can produce, especially when the person is not appropriately dressed for this condition.
Hypothermia can also happen when wearing clothes that are not fit for cold weather, staying out in the cold, and accidentally falling into cold water. Inadequate heating or very cold air conditioning at home, usually happens to infants and older people.
Treatment and home remedies
First, move the person to a warm or dry place and if the person cannot move, protect the person from further cold such as removing any wet clothing and covering the person with warm blankets. Keep monitoring the breathing and heart rate. It is best to register for first aid training today so that you know what to do.
To make the affected person feel warm, another person can remove their clothing and lie next to person to keep him/her warm by their body heat. Give the affected person warm drinks or broth to drink. Then apply a warm compress on the chest, neck and groin areas.
For medical treatment, it involves rewarming by drawing blood from the body and recirculating it again within the body. Additionally, the affected person is administered with intravenous fluids and humidified oxygen can be administered in order to warm the body.