Hypothermia is a status where the body temperature of the patient drops significantly low than normal. It happens due to inadequate protection against exposure to cold temperatures. The youngest and old are the people are more prone to develop hypothermia as they get exposed to the cold temperatures.
The risk and degree of hypothermia are influenced directly with the presence of wet clothes, link with metals, chill with wind and degree of temperature between the body and its environment surrounding.
Symptoms of Hypothermia
- Continuous shivering
- Slow or uncertain speech
- Feeling very tired
- Faltering when trying to walk
- Confusion and blurred thinking
- Unconsciousness / Semi consciousness
Phases of Hypothermia
- Hypothermia: Owing to medical, physiological, environmental and other similar factors, the patient’s main temperature of the body decreases to 36 degrees Celsius. The skin may show pale color with numbness and waxy. Muscles become tense and shivering may start. There will be visible signs of fatigue and signs of weakness.
- Mild Hypothermia:
In this phase, the person is sure victim of hypothermia. The core temperature of his or her body drops to 34 or 35 degrees Celcius. Unrestrained and forceful shivering begins. The patient has to be alert and be able to help himself. There are fewer movements and coldness creates pain and uneasiness.
- Moderate Hypothermia:
The core temperature of a victim’s body drops to 31 to 33 degrees Celcius. Shivering becomes slow or intercepts, muscles start to be stiff and confusion and numbness come in. Speech gets vague, slow and blurred and breathing becomes slow. The patient may also feel drowsiness and behave strangely.
- Severe Hypothermia:
In this phase of Hypothermia, the core temperature of the body goes below 31 degrees Celcius. The skin looks cold and bluish or gray in color. Eyes can be dilated. The patient feels very weak and reveals a noticeable lack of synchronization, inaudible speech, and an exhausted appearance. The patient may look drunk and may even deny taking help. There is a slow loss of awareness. With little or no visible breathing, the patient can be very inflexible, unconscious and even seem to be dead.
Treatment for Hypothermia
If the patient becomes unconscious, it is important to have medical help at once. In case, they suffer from cardiac arrest, it is very important to have medical assistance. Call 911 immediately.
- Get the patient indoors, preferably a dry place that is protected from the wind.
- Take off wet clothing and cover the patient with dry blankets. Cover the head, hands, and feet of the patient.
- Do not make the patient too warm.
- Make the patient lay in bed or cot. A warm heater has to be nearby.
- You can lie under the bed covers close to the patient so that you can transfer your own body heat. Any other person can lie on the other side too.
- Provide the patient with some warm soup.