As with all diseases, you need to know the hypothermia symptoms in order to take precautionary measures or consult your physician if you doubt that you might be suffering from this disease. In medical terms, hypothermia is the condition of the body when the body temperature is abnormally low, say ranging from 32 C to 35 C. You need to be very careful and rush for treatment if the body temperature goes down 32.2 C, in which case, there might be serious complications felt.
In order to detect hypothermia early, it is better that you are aware of the initial hypothermia symptoms. They can be any of the following or sometimes a combination of one or more symptoms too:
- The most commonly seen or the major symptom of hypothermia is a general deterioration in the mental faculties. In other words, the affected person faces more and more troubles while taking decisions.
- Further, lethargy and weakness is also felt.
- This condition might resemble the state of drunkenness, especially because the person will exhibit disorientation.
- There may be distinct changes in the speech pattern too.
- Once hypothermia sets in, the body will begin to lose its motor and muscle functions. But, at the same time, these symptoms might be mistaken for some other disease like diabetes, alcohol usage, stroke, etc.
- The most dangerous symptom of hypothermia is that the body of the affected person will not be able to utilize any heat-generating mechanism like shivering. Similar to this inability to produce heat-generating mechanisms or processes of defense, the body loses other protective reflexes. Consequently, the normal body temperature comes down drastically.
- As a result of inefficient functioning or malfunctioning of the muscles, the person would not be able to even stand or walk.
Hypothermia symptoms in elders can be identified by
- Unusual lethargy and sleepiness along with confusion.
- Inability to control body movements.
- Low blood pressure and pulse rate.
- Shallow and slow breathing along with irregular or arrested heartbeat as the heart experiences abnormal electrical rhythms, such as ventricular fibrillation. This is a type of cardiac arrest, where the heart is not able to pump and function normally.
- Rigid muscles or extreme shivering can be felt.
- The color of the nose, fingers, toes and ears might show a shade of blue-gray color.
- The skin may become so cold as if the person had stayed in a cold room.
- Usually, there are visible changes in both behavior and speech, exhibiting drowsiness or sluggishness.
- In the cases of acute hypothermia, the affected person might even become unconscious.
Sometimes, hypothermia might lead to hallucinations, irritability or even coma. Early symptoms of hypothermia in infants is a very low level of energy, the skin might turn bright red and too cold. It is important to identify hypothermia early enough as it sets in gradually but ultimately might be fatal. Another striking characteristic of this disease is that the deterioration of the brain, muscle and other related functions are directly proportional to the rate of decrease of the body temperature.
Medicine separates the three stages of reducing body temperature during hypothermia
Easy – the temperature drops to 31-34 degrees
Medium – temperature drops below 31 degrees
Heavy – the body cools down to temperatures below 28 degrees.
After your body temperature has dropped below 31 degrees, your heart rate drops to 36 beats per minute, and your breathing slows down to 5-6 breaths and breaths all at the same minute. The hardest thing is what is reflected in the brain, which comes with oxygen starvation. As for the rest of the body, there is a high probability of frostbite. the consequences of which can be numbness and tissue necrosis.
Do not make common mistakes if you feel that you are suffering with Hypothermia. You should not drink alcohol “to warm yourself in any event or try to do Physical exercises, which supposedly may disperse the blood. Also it is not recommended in this case to take a hot shower or bath.
The first thing to do with hypothermia is to move to a warm room and get rid of cold clothes and shoes. Frozen hands and feet should be rubbed with a cloth soaked in alcohol until sensitivity is restored. After that, the parts of the body most affected by the cold should be placed in warm (not hot!) Water. It is very important to immobilize them in order to avoid hemorrhage.
You can drink only warm milk or tea, which will help you in restoring normal blood circulation and compensate for the lack of heat in the body.
After the first aid has been provided, it is necessary to consult a doctor. Hypothermia is dangerous with consequences that can affect the functioning of internal organs and it is extremely important that the diagnosis be made on time.
Remember, The air temperature does not need have to fall in order for hypothermia to occur. The wrong choice of clothes at +7 degrees can be fatal for you and the second important thing that needs to be keep in mind is that like a pin-code of a bank card, is more than half of the people who died from hypothermia were in a state of intoxication. So, before you go on Friday’s quest for adventure, check where you go and with whom. Be sure to develop a plan of retreat in a warm bed.