Energy Assistance - Cold Weather Preparedness Tips
What is hypothermia?
Hypothermia is defined as a fall in the core body temperature to below 35 degrees C (95 degrees F). Factors such as diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, use of hypnotics and alcohol predispose to the development of hypothermia. Anyone suspected to be suffering from hypothermia should be taken to see the doctor or taken to the hospital right away.
- Mild - (body temp 90-95 degrees) The victim will have cold skin, especially of the hands and feet, pallor, excessive shivering, unsteady gait, difficulty in speaking or slurred speech and confusion. Some elders may not have the shivering response.
- Moderate - (85-90 degrees) As the body temperature drops, victims become stuporous. Moderate hypothermia is characterized by loss of shivering, muscle rigidity, slowing down of heart beat, loss of voluntary movement and gradual loss of consciousness.
- Severe - (less than 78 degrees) Victims become unresponsive with irregular heart beat, fall in blood pressure, total loss of consciousness and cardiac arrest.
Who is most susceptible?
- Very old - May be unaware of their limitations. Due to limited mobility may be forced to spend increased amount of time exposed to the cold weather due to slow ambulation.
- Very young - Thermoregulatory system is still immature. Babies rely on adults for warmth.
- Infirmed - Due to illness or injury can't remove themselves from the cold source.