HYPOTHERMIA (LOW BODY TEMPERATURE)
Last Updated : 12/6/2010
Dr. Ira Shah
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Hypothermia

occurs when the body's temperature falls below 35 degree C (95 F). Hypothermia can occur in poorly insulated and improperly heated homes, prolonged exposure to the cold during outdoor pursuits.

Risk groups:


Small children, particularly infants, are at greater risk from hypothermia because their ability to control their body temperature is poorly developed. Nor are they always able to say how they feel. The elderly are at risk due to a number of factors that include lack of mobility, poorly heated homes, illness and poor diet.

The homeless are at considerable risk due to their circumstances, combined with illness and poor diet.

Symptoms of Hypothermia:


1. The patient becomes apathetic, irrational, and confused
2. Shivering
3. Cold, pale, dry skin
4. Lethargy and Drowsiness
5. Slow, shallow breathing
6. Slow, weak pulse
7. Collapse, even to the point of death

Treatment:


1. Put further layers of clothing on the patient. Cover the patient's head.
2. Put the patient on a layer of dry, insulating material such as blankets, leaves, etc OR put the patient into a sleeping bag and provide warmth from your own body by lying alongside him/her within the bag (if necessary use newspaper, blankets, or tent canvas instead of a sleeping bag).
3. If the patient is conscious, allow sips of warm drinks.
4. If the patient becomes unconscious, turn into the recovery position and continue to provide warmth.
5. Call for an Ambulance.

Resuscitation and Hypothermia


Hypothermia can cause the lungs to become stiff to inflate, so it may be necessary to perform resuscitation at a slower rate than normal.



Contributor Information and Disclosures

Dr. Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, B.J.Wadia Hospital for Children, Mumbai, India


First Created : 3/6/2000

References

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