According to the MSD Manual, hypothermia is a core body temperature below 35ºC. It occurs when the body is unable to produce enough heat to replace what it loses. Depending on the case, it can be mild or severe.
Later we will delve into the different degrees of this condition and the strategies to be used.
Read more about hypothermia
An unusually low body temperature can wreak havoc on the body. Generally, a person is considered hypothermia if their temperature is below 35°C.
There are numerous conditions that can cause this state in an individual. To do this, our body has a series of mechanisms that protect us from the cold. In this way we try to produce heat and stabilize the body.
If the extreme condition persists, the body is unable to recover the lost heat. Therefore, a body temperature is believed to be below 35°C it indicates that the body is beginning to sag. This is due to the fact that heat production is lower than that lost at any instant.
Eventually, vital organs and blood vessels begin to suffer damage. If this disorder is not treated adequately, the person may die from the associated complications.
types of hypothermia
Depending on the severity of the case, we can distinguish between three types of hypothermia. It should be noted that, in any case, Symptoms usually come on gradually and get worse over time. In this way we can highlight:
- Mild hypothermia (33-35°C). The most common symptoms or signs are shivering or shaking, confusion or disorientation, and difficulty moving. Skin can change color and its touch is very cold.
- Moderate hypothermia (30-33°C). In this situation, the patient begins to lose consciousness and may make a slight mumbling or babbling. The victim may feel intense sleepiness and lose energy.
- Severe hypothermia (less than 30°C). Eventually, the individual loses consciousness, the heart rate and respiratory rate slow down and weaken. Also, her blood pressure is below recommended standards.
First aid measures
Through clothes and drinks we can restore mild hypothermia.
Similarly, the first aid are a series of simple guidelines that can be applied in a state of emergency. Therefore, you can try to minimize the damage resulting from an accident while waiting for the corresponding medical treatment.
If you have hypothermia, you should call 112 immediately and check the victim’s condition. To do this, you need to check your pulse and breathing and, if necessary, apply cardiopulmonary resuscitation (or CPR).
Then you must move the victim to a sheltered place and with the most suitable temperature. We also recommend wrapping it if you have blankets or clothing to recover heat and replace wet clothes.
In the event that shelter cannot be found, the individual should be given warmth to try to dry wet clothing and raise body temperature. If possible, warm compresses may be applied or placed close to the individual. Applying direct heat is not recommended because it can cause more serious complications.
If the person is conscious can be stimulated with warm drinks or food. In no case is it recommended to give alcohol to calm the victim.
Treatment of hypothermia
Once the medical team arrives, they will apply the most appropriate therapeutic regimens to stabilize the patient.
In milder cases of hypothermia, the disorder can be treated with passive rewarming. This technique consists in the administration of warm liquids and blankets to recover the lost heat.
However, in severe cases, the victim may be unconscious or it may not be enough to calm the person down. In this situation, Other techniques can be performed to relieve hypothermia:
- Introduce warm liquids intravenously. Normally, it is a saline water solution.
- Use humidified oxygen to warm the patient’s airways.
- Apply a varying amount of saline solution to certain regions of the body. It is usually placed via a catheter in areas such as the pleura or peritoneal cavity.
- In the most extreme cases, a machine can be used. hemodialysis. In this way, blood is drawn from the subject, its temperature is raised, and it is reintroduced into the patient’s body.
Anyway, hypothermia must be treated immediately with appropriate measures. The emergency medical team has the necessary means to carry it out, although in the mildest cases, raising the temperature with clothes and drinks can repair their condition.
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