Hypothermia is a drop in body temperature as a result of extremely cold temperatures, usually in the winter season. Most people don’t realize when it gets cold out, your body temperature can actually lower. When this occurs it is very dangerous and can even be fatal if you don’t treat it properly. No matter where you live, you can get hypothermia, indoors and out. It is important to read through and find out more about hypothermia, how to avoid it, and treat it if you show any signs.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia
Hypothermia is a dangerous condition not only because of what it does to your body, but because you may feel warm and ignore other signs. There are ways to find out if you have hypothermia, by paying attention to other signs aside from your body temperature. This includes being sleepy or confused, shallow breathing, weak pulse, slow or slurred speech, a change in behavior or the way you look, stiffness in the arms or legs, shivering even though your body doesn’t feel cold, slow reactions and lack of control over your body movements.
If you think someone has hypothermia, it is best to act quickly. The normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit but a body temperature lower than 95 degrees Fahrenheit can be dangerous. First use a thermometer to check their temperature. If it never rises above 96 degrees, call 911 immediately. Before help arrives, keep them warm and dry with a warm blanket, coat or towel. Give them something warm to drink but avoid caffeinated coffee or alcohol. In the emergency room, they will most likely receive warm fluids via IV and their recovery time depends on their health and how long they were exposed to the cold.
If you’re in cold temperatures and are concerned with getting hypothermia, there are some actions you can take to help prevent it. To start with, stay away from freezing temperatures without proper protection like blankets or warm clothing. Always pay attention to how cold it is and be prepared. When it’s cold out, wear several layers of clothing to trap warm air near your body and lead o body heat. Avoid tight clothing, however, as it stops proper blood flow. You should also be aware some medications can affect your body’s temperature such as those for nausea, anxiety, or depression. Only drink alcohol moderately if it is very cold out as it can take some of your body heat.