Hypothermia

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Hypothermia
Classification and external resources

Being homeless can make you become exposed to hypothermia
ICD-10 T68.
ICD-9 991.6
DiseasesDB 6542
eMedicine med/1144
MeSH D007035

Hypothermia is a condition when a person is so cold that the body temperature drops below normal.[1] Hypothermia is any body temperature lower than 35.0 °C (95.0 °F). He or she starts shivering and cannot stop. The person then becomes confused and acts strange. Their words don't make sense and they may be clumsy. Sometimes he or she becomes very tired. If someone gets hypothermia, wrap the person in blankets and take him or her to the hospital. If that's impossible, warm up the person slowly and give them a warm drink.[2]

Mild[change | change source]

When hypothermia begins, a person feels cold, starts shivering and can't stop.[2][3][4][5] The person cannot do complicated things with his or her hands. They are also unable to touch their thumb with their little finger, because their hand muscles don't work well.

Mild hypothermia is sometimes used on purpose by doctors for treating some medical problems. It takes blood away from the skin, hands and feet, and puts it to the brain and important internal organs. This helps when the person is bleeding from cuts or other wounds, and also helps when the patient goes into cardiac arrest.[6]

Moderate (Middle)[change | change source]

The person begins shivering very strongly. Their large muscles do not work well.[4][7] They move slowly and with difficulty, growing a little confused and walking unsteadily.[2] The person becomes pale, and lips, ears, fingers, and toes might become blue. This is because the body is trying to keep the most important organs warm. The person might feel sick in his stomach and very tired, wanting to go to sleep, anywhere.[2]

Severe[change | change source]

Body temperature drops even more, but the person usually stops shivering.[4] They cannot talk clearly; they think slowly, and they cannot move their hands. Sometimes a person will feel suddenly warm, as if they are getting better, but this just means they are getting worse. They may take off warm clothes or lay down to go to sleep. If this continues, they cannot walk or answer questions. Their pulse becomes weaker, but the heart may beat faster. Finally, the person dies.

References[change | change source]

  1. Karakitsos D, Karabinis A (September 2008). "Hypothermia therapy after traumatic brain injury in children". N. Engl. J. Med. 359 (11): 1179–80. PMID 18788094.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Oard, Michael (1997). The Weather Book. P.O. Box 126, Green Forest, AR 72638: Master Books. ISBN 0-89051-211-6.
  3. McCullough L, Arora S (December 2004). "Diagnosis and treatment of hypothermia". Am Fam Physician 70 (12): 2325–32. PMID 15617296.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Sterba, JA (1990). "Field Management of Accidental Hypothermia during Diving.". United States Navy Experimental Diving Unit Technical Report NEDU-1-90. http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4248. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  5. Francis, TJR (1998). "Immersion hypothermia.". South Pacific Underwater Medicine Society journal 28 (3). ISSN 0813-1988. OCLC 16986801. http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/5975. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
  6. "induced hypothermia". Oxford Journals. http://ceaccp.oxfordjournals.org/content/6/1/23.full. Retrieved 22 February 2014.
  7. Cheung SS, Montie DL, White MD, Behm D (September 2003). "Changes in manual dexterity following short-term hand and forearm immersion in 10 degrees C water". Aviat Space Environ Med 74 (9): 990–3. PMID 14503680. http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/asma/asem/2003/00000074/00000009/art00013. Retrieved 2008-06-11.

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