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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home First Aid and Emergency Hypothermia

Hypothermia

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Hypothermia is a condition in which the body temperature is below normal temperature. Prolonged exposure to cold climatic conditions and even some metabolic and some other body ailments can lead to failure of body?s heat regulating mechanism. This failure leads to more loss of heat to surroundings then what body can produce. Low body temperature is caused by excessive cold climatic conditions. several symptoms to be looked for and to provide effective measures to rewarm the patient

 

Hypothermia is a condition in which the body temperature is below normal temperature. Prolonged exposure to cold climatic conditions and even some metabolic and some other body ailments can lead to failure of body’s heat regulating mechanism. This failure leads to more loss of heat to surroundings then what body can produce.

What to look for in a patient of Hypothermia

  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Unclear voice
  • Confusion
  • Cramps
  • Shivering and a feeling of being cold
  • Drowsiness
  • Abnormally slow rate of breathing
  • Cold, pale skin
  • Fatigue, lethargy or apathy
  • Unconsciousness

Complications in cases of low body temperature

  • Amnesia
  • Dysarthria
  • Patient may develop altered judgment
  • High heart rate
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Kidney functions may be compromised at later stages
  • Brain death
  • Pulmonary edema and even cardiovascular dysfunctions can occur
  • Very low body temperatures may result in Frost bite
  • Loss of limbs can occur in cases with prolonged exposure to cold

How to manage

  • If the person is conscious, give him or her warm drinks.
  • Take the person to a dry spot. Replace wet clothes with warm, dry clothing, blankets to prevent further heat loss
  • Do not give alcohol
  • If the person is unconsciousness then first check the pulse and breathing and administer artificial respiration as needed
  • Don’t rub the patients feet or massage him
  • If possible rewarm the patient by close body contact
  • If the patient is conscious then give him some warm and sweet liquids to drink
  • In some very severe cases patient will require lavage with warm water of bladder, chest, stomach and abdominal cavities
  • Seek for a medical help
  • In some cases aspirin and other pharmacologic agents necessary for cardiac conditions can be used