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Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. A temperature below 95⁰F is a medical emergency. When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work normally.
Signs and symptoms of hypothermia:
- Slurred speech or mumbling
- Clumsiness or lack of coordination
- Drowsiness or very low energy
- Confusion or memory loss
- A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious. Handle that person gently and call 9-1-1.
- Someone with hypothermia may not be aware of their condition because the symptoms often begin gradually.
- Specific conditions that can lead to hypothermia:
- Wearing clothes that aren’t warm enough for the conditions.
- Staying out in the cold too long.
Being unable to get out of wet clothes or move to a warm, dry place.
- Living in a house that’s too cold.
- Falling into water.
- Risk Factors:
- Certain medical conditions
- Alcohol or drug use
- Being an infant or older adult
- Inadequate food intake and dehydration
- Cover your body, especially your head, face, neck and hands.
- Avoid activities that can cause you to sweat a lot.
- Wear loose-fitting, layered clothing.
- Stay as dry as possible. Get out of wet clothing as soon as possible.
- Eat well-balanced meals and stay hydrated. Don’t drink alcohol if you plan to be outdoors in cold weather.
Hypothermia is a medical emergency. If you notice any of the above symptoms, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95⁰F, call 9-1-1. Handle that person gently.
For mild cases of hypothermia:
- Get the person into a warm room.
- Remove any wet clothing.
- Warm the center of the person’s body, their core (chest, neck, head, and groin), with dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
- Drink warm fluids, but do not give alcoholic drinks. Do not try to give beverages to someone who is unconscious or can’t swallow.
- Keep the person warm and dry.
- Get proper medical attention as soon as possible.
- Julie Happy