Risk Factors for Hypothermia


Definition of Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a condition when the body temperature decreases drastically below the normal temperature required by the metabolism and function of the body, which is below 35 degrees Celsius. This condition should get immediate treatment, as it may cause interference to the nervous system and other organ functions in the body. In addition, this condition can also lead to the failure of the respiratory system, the circulation system (heart), and death.

Risk Factors for Hypothermia

Some risk factors are hypothermia, among others:

  • Move too long in a cool place, like climbing a mountain or swimming.
  • Consuming liquor and illegal drugs. Both habits can cause blood vessels to widen, so the body will release high heat from the skin's surface.
  • Consumption of certain medications, such as antidepressants.
  • The influence of certain diseases affecting body temperature control, such as anorexia nervosa, stroke, and hypothyroidism.
  • Diseases that affect memory, such as Alzheimer's disease, because it is not conscious of being cold or not understanding what to do.
  • The age of infants and seniors, due to the ability to control body temperature is not perfect in infants and decreases in seniors.

Causes of hypothermia

Common causes of hypothermia are exposure to cold or cold water for a long period without adequate protection, such as the consequences of:

  • Being too long in a cool place.
  • Fell into the cold water pool for a long time.
  • Wear wet clothes for a long time.
  • The air conditioning temperature is too low, especially in infants and elderly.
  • Don't wear the right clothes while climbing the mountain.

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Symptoms of Hypothermia

Some symptoms of hypothermia include:

  • Talking veil, muttering, and stuttering.
  • Lips are bluish-coloured.
  • Heart rate is weak and irregular.
  • Baby's skin can be bright red, cold, and looks very unenergetic.
  • Sleepy or limber.
  • Shiver constantly.
  • Feeling cold.
  • Slow and short breath.
  • Decreased consciousness, such as confusion.
  • Wide Pupil of eyes.
  • Cannot warm themselves up.
  • The body becomes stiff and difficult to move.

Hypothermia Diagnosis

The doctor will diagnose hypothermia by conducting medical interviews as well as physical examinations with a special thermometer, which can measure the low body temperature and confirm the diagnosis. A supporting examination can also be done to detect problems in vital organs, such as electrocardiography, laboratory examination, and X-rays.

Complications of hypothermia

Some of the complications of hypothermia, such as frostbite, inflammation, and body tissues decompose due to the blood flow, even death.

Hypothermia Treatment

Some of the treatments that can be done include:

1. Before medical assistance arrives:

  • Immediately remove and replace the wet clothes with a dry one.
  • Use multiple layers of blankets or jackets to warm the body.
  • Give a warm drink that does not contain caffeine.
  • Avoid exposure to wind and air.
  • Move to the area that is close to the heat source and can share the body heat.
  • Avoid direct heat use, such as hot water or heated mat.

2. After medical assistance arrives:

  • It warms the respiratory tract by providing oxygen that has been warmed through masks and hoses.
  • Provide an infusion containing an already heated copy solution.
  • Drain a warm solution to pass through and warm up some body organs, e.g. around the lungs or abdominal cavity.
  • Remove and warm the blood, then return to the body, using the heart and lung (CPB) or hemodialysis machine.

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Prevention of Hypothermia

Several prevention efforts of hypothermia include:

  • Dress right in the winter.
  • Replace wet clothes with dry clothes as soon as possible.
  • Get out of cold water asap.
  • Adequate calorie and fluid consumption.
  • Supervise the elderly and young children.

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When to go to a doctor?

Contact your doctor immediately if you feel the above symptoms. Remember, proper and fast handling is indispensable to determine the treatment step and accelerate the healing process.

3 Factors That Trigger One's Natural Hypothermia

Hypothermia arises because there is an imbalance between the heat generated by the body with a lost heat. The body heat produced is not as much as heat lost. It causes the body temperature to decline drastically to below 35 degrees Celsius. In fact, under normal conditions human body temperature is about 37 degrees Celsius. 

There are some things that can cause a person to have hypothermia, ranging from being in the cold place too long, wearing thin clothes in cold weather, until too long wearing wet clothes or being in the water. In addition, the risk of hypothermia can also increase due to several factors, such as age factor and disease history.

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Risk Factors for Hypothermia

There are a few things that can cause this condition, one of which is too long to be in a cold place, for example a mountain. In addition, hypothermia can also be caused by too long to wear wet clothes, or too long to soak in the water. This condition is in no way considered trivial because it can trigger harmful complications. 

Hypothermia can attack anyone, but there are several factors that can increase the risk, including: 

1. Fatigue 

Hypothermia is more susceptible to attacking people who are exhausted and too long in the middle of cold air. 

2. Experiencing Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism may increase the risk of hypothermia. In addition, this condition can also occur in the treatment of arthritis, stroke, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease.

3. Age

Age factors also influence, hypothermia is more risky to occur in the elderly and infants. In infants, temperatures that are too cold can cause cold sweat due to hypothermia.

Symptoms that arise as a sign of hypothermia can vary depending on the severity of the degree. However, in general hypothermia can be characterized by pale skin and feel cold when touched, numbness, shivering, decreased response, difficulty in speech, stiff and difficult to move, decreased consciousness, until the heart's expansion slows down. 

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When hypothermia occurs, there are some first aid that can be done. Immediate relief can help increase the hope of recovering and avoiding complications. When facing people who are experiencing hypothermia who are still breathing and the pulse still exists, immediately move the victim to a more dry and warm place. 

When moving the body of hypothermia, make sure to be careful. Cause, excess movement can trigger a stop heart rate. If the clothes are wet, immediately open and replace them with more dry and warm clothes. Add warmth by covering her body with a blanket or thick coat. If possible, provide a warm and sweet drink. 

If physical contact is needed, the helper may try to embrace hypothermia. Do it in a blanket or thick cloth to make it warmer and the body temperature faster to increase. As a helper, be sure to take note of or pay attention to all the things experienced during the hypothermia occurring. It is useful as a record and report when hypothermia is receiving medical help.

You can contact your doctor for help in giving first aid. Contact your doctor.

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