Humans need heat to live. But, contact with cold air, wind, or water will take heat from us. What is the hypothermia definition? The normal body temperature is between 36.1°C to 37.2°C. Hence, if our body temperature goes lower than 35 °C, we call it hypothermia. At this point, we lose heat fast, and our body finds it hard to produce it.
Also, our organs can’t do their role at a very low temperature. Therefore, this condition can result in organ failure and even death. After knowing hypothermia’s definition, you should know its symptoms and causes.
When we shiver, our muscles contract and relax by turns. Also, it is our body’s way to warm itself. That is why when we are in a cold place, we shiver. Additionally, it is also a sign that the place is cold and our bodies are losing heat. The start of shivering does not have a specific temperature. It varies from person to person.
2. Getting too tired
Moreover, shivering is effective in warming up for hours. Our muscles also grow tired and run out of energy. Hence, a person who is too cold has very low energy. Also, if the condition gets worse, shivering will stop.
3. Slow and shallow breathing
Aside from our lack of energy, cold temperatures make it hard for us to breathe. Likewise, cold and dry air can narrow the upper airways. In severe case, the person might not be able to breathe
4. Slurred speech or mumbling
Additionally, trouble in speaking is also a hypothermia symptom.
5. Weak pulse
Hypothermia causes a weak and slow heartbeat. Check the pulse to know about this symptom.
6. Lack of body coordination
Hypothermia also affects our motor skills. Also, the body might become disoriented. It will be hard to perform a task well.
Hypothermia can lead to confused thinking. Consequently, it becomes harder for the person to think. You might do something risky without being aware of it.
8. Memory loss
Memory loss can turn into amnesia if not treated immediately.
9. Blue skin
This symptom happens to people with a body temperature of less than 28C. Hence, it happens because of blood movement inwards to keep internal organs warm.
11. A thin layer of clothing
If you are not wearing enough clothes and you have exposed skin, losing heat is fast. Therefore, clothes keep our bodies warm. Also, it protects us from cold air and wind. Examples of clothes to wear during cold weathers are:
- Thick socks and gloves
- Wool and silk clothes. Avoid wearing clothes made of cotton. It will absorb water and hold on to it close to your skin.
- 3-4 layers of clothing
12. Long exposure to cold air or wind
The cold wind carries away the warm air on your skin. Therefore, it can lead to a decrease in body temperature.
13. Being under cold water for too long
Compared to air, water can get heat from us faster. Being immersed in cold water will remove heat from your skin and your whole body.
14. Wet clothes
If you fell or swam in cold water, the coldness will stick to your clothes. Therefore, constant contact with wet clothes increases the chance of draining body heat.
Some factors put someone at a higher risk of having hypothermia. These are:
For older people, keeping the body temperature normal is hard. They might also not tell if they are cold. Going to a near warm and dry place might be slow. Meanwhile, babies and children lose heat faster. They might not have an idea that they are too cold. Older and younger people might not have put on enough clothes to protect them.
Alcohol or drug use
Alcohol and drugs affect our thinking and choices. Without a sober mind, you won’t know how to avoid cold. With alcohol, you might feel that your body is getting warm. But what happens inside is the opposite. Alcohol causes fast heat loss from the skin. Your body’s reaction to cold might lessen.
If you get tired, your muscles won’t do well to help you at this point.
Having mental problems might also affect a person’s response to cold. Hence, it could affect how they dress or have no idea that they should get warm.
Some medical conditions affect the body’s response to cold. Examples are poor nutrition, diabetes, trauma, and stroke.
Some drugs can affect the body’s reaction to temperatures. An example is sedatives.