Hypothermia - Medic Quotes
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Friday, June 14, 2019


Hypothermia is a condition when the body temperature drops dramatically to below 35 o C. When the body temperature is far below normal (37 o C), the function of the nervous system and other organs will experience interference. If not treated immediately, hypothermia can cause heart failure, respiratory system disorders, and even death.

Causes of Hypothermia

Hypothermia occurs when the heat produced by the body is not as much as the heat lost. A number of conditions that have the potential to make body heat disappear and cause hypothermia, namely :
  • Too long in a cold place.
  • Wearing clothes that are less thick during cold weather.
  • Too long wearing wet clothes.
  • Too long in the water, for example due to a ship accident.

Hypothermia can be experienced by anyone. However, there are several factors that increase a person's risk of experiencing hypothermia, namely:
  • Age. Vulnerable hypothermia is experienced by infants and the elderly.
  • Fatigue.
  • Mental disorders, such as dementia .
  • Consumption of alcohol and drugs.
  • Take medications for depression and sedatives.
  • Hypothyroidism , arthritis, stroke, diabetes, and Parkinson's disease .

Symptoms of Hypothermia

Symptoms of hypothermia vary depending on the severity. The following are symptoms of hypothermia from mild to severe:
  • The skin is pale and feels cold to the touch
  • Numb
  • Shivering
  • Response decreases
  • Talking disorders
  • Rigid and difficult to move
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shortness of breath to breath slowed down
  • The heart beats until the heart rate slows down

In infants, hypothermia is characterized by skin that feels cold and looks reddish. Babies also look silent, weak, and do not want to suckle or eat.

Hypothermia Treatment

Hypothermia is an emergency condition that must be treated immediately. The initial action that needs to be done when meeting people who have symptoms of hypothermia is to look for the presence or absence of pulse and breathing. If the pulse and breathing have stopped, then take the action of pulmonary heart resuscitation (CPR) and seek medical attention.
If the person is still breathing and his pulse is still there, do the following to make his body temperature return to normal:
  • Move him to a drier and warmer place. Move carefully because excessive movement can trigger his heart rate to stop.
  • If the clothes he wears are wet, then replace them with dry clothes.
  • Cover the body with a blanket or thick coat to warm.
  • If he is conscious and able to swallow, give him a warm and sweet drink.
  • Give warm and dry compresses to help warm the body. Place compresses on the neck, chest and groin. Avoid putting compresses on your arms or legs because it causes cold blood to flow back to your heart, lungs, and brain.
  • Avoid using hot water, heating pads, or heating lights to warm hypothermia sufferers. Excessive heat can damage the skin and cause irregular heartbeat.
  • Accompany and monitor the condition of the person, until medical assistance arrives.

After arriving at the hospital, hypothermia sufferers will receive a series of medical measures, in the form of :
  • Giving oxygen that has been moistened through a mask or nose hose, to warm the respiratory tract and help increase body temperature.
  • Provision of warmed intravenous fluids.
  • Suction and warmth of blood, to then flow back into the body. This process uses a dialysis machine.
  • Giving sterile liquid that has been warmed. This sterile liquid is inserted into the abdominal cavity using a special hose.

Hypothermia Complications

Handling needs to be done immediately on the condition of hypothermia to prevent complications, even death. Complications that can arise are:
  • Frostbite , which is an injury to the skin and underlying tissue because it freezes.
  • Chilblains, which are inflammation of small blood vessels and nerves in the skin.
  • Trench foot , which is damage to blood vessels and nerves in the legs due to too long submerged in water.
  • Gangrene or tissue damage.

Prevention of Hypothermia

There are several simple steps that can be taken to prevent hypothermia, namely:
  • Keep your body dry. Avoid wearing wet clothing for long periods of time because it can absorb body heat.
  • Use clothes according to weather conditions and activities that will be carried out, especially when going up the mountain or camping in a cold place. Wear thick jackets or clothes so that body temperature is maintained.
  • Use hats, scarves, gloves, socks and boots when going to activities outside the home.
  • Do simple movements to warm the body.
  • Avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine. Eat warm drinks and food.

Whereas to prevent hypothermia in infants and children, the methods that can be done are :

  • Keep the room temperature warm.
  • Wear a thick jacket or clothing, when the child will move outside the home when the temperature is cold.
  • Take it immediately to a warm room, if they seem to start shivering.

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