Hypothermia is a drop in body temperature at 35 degrees C or less, and can be fatal if not detected promptly and treated appropriately.
While anyone can suffer from hypothermia, for older people, the risk is greater because their bodies often do not adapt quickly enough to changes in temperature, and more than that, old people do not always realize when they lose body temperature. The state of hypothermia usually develops over a longer period of time from several days to several weeks.
Even indoor temperatures from 15 to 18 degrees can trigger hypothermia in an older person. If you have older relatives or friends who live alone, encourage them to constantly check if the house temperature is at least 20 degrees, to prevent hypothermia.
What happens in case of hypothermia?
If the body temperature decreases, the surface blood vessels contract to reduce body heat loss. Muscles begin to contract to keep warm. If the temperature continues to drop, the person will begin to tremble. Chills will continue until the body temperature drops to about 32-33 degrees. Body temperatures below 32 degrees create a situation that endangers human life.
How hypothermia is manifested?
Signs of hypothermia include loss of memory, dizziness, drowsiness, slurred speech, change in appearance (face is bloated, swollen), weak pulse, slow reactions to stimuli and very slow and shallow breathing. If the body temperature drops to or below 30 degrees, a person can get in coma state or look like a corpse.
How to help a person with hypothermia?
If you notice these symptoms in a person, it is really needed to measure body temperature. If the temperature is 35 degrees or less, this is for sure hypothermia, immediately call a doctor or ambulance to transport the person directly to the hospital. To prevent loss of body heat, quickly wrap the patient in a warm blanket.
A hot water bottle or electric blanket (set on low-temperature function) can be applied to the stomach of the person. If the victim is conscious, give him to eat and drink small amounts of food or hot drinks.
Rapid heating methods that must not be applied to persons who suffer from hypothermia
There are several methods of heating you should not apply to a person suffering from hypothermia:
– Do not give alcohol to drink.
– Avoid shower or a hot bath, because this could cause a shock.
In general, do not try to treat hypothermia cases at home. People with hypothermia must be treated in a hospital.