What is Hypothermia?
What is Hypothermia? Hypothermia includes health conditions that require emergency medical treatment. This occurs when the body temperature drops below the normal temperature required by the metabolism and body function, which is below 35 ° C.
When the body temperature is well below the normal point, the nervous system and other organ functions in the body will begin to interfere. If not treated promptly, hypothermia can cause respiratory system failure and circulatory system (heart), and eventually lead to death.
The main cause of hypothermia is cold air exposure. A number of situations that potentially cause this condition include:
- Not wearing the right clothes while climbing the mountain.
- Being too long in a cold place.
- Falling into the pool.
- Wearing wet clothes for a long time.
- The air conditioning temperature is too low (especially for seniors and babies).
Types of Hypothermia
Based on the rate of heat loss rate in the body, hypothermia can be divided into:
- Hypothermia is acute or immersive. This condition occurs when a person loses body heat suddenly and very quickly, for example when someone fell into a cold pool.
- Hypothermia due to fatigue. In conditions that are too weak, the body will not be able to generate heat, so that the person will fall on the condition of hypothermia.
- Chronic hypothermia. This type occurs when body heat disappears slowly.This condition is common in elderly people living in rooms with less warmth, or in homeless people sleeping outdoors.
Hypothermia Risk Factors
Hypothermia can happen to anyone, but there are a number of factors that potentially increase a person’s risk of experiencing this condition. These factors include:
- Age – baby and elderly. Ability to control body temperature that has not been fully developed in infants and that decreases in the elderly. Children also sometimes ignore the cold air because it is too fun to play.
- Drinks and drugs. Alcohol and drugs can dilate blood vessels thereby accelerating and increasing the release of body heat from the skin surface. Drunk or stoned condition can make a person unaware of the situation and the cold weather around him.
- Diseases that affect memory, such as Alzheimer’s disease. People with this disease usually do not realize that they are cold or do not understand what to do.
- Influence of certain diseases. There are several diseases that can affect the body’s temperature control mechanisms, such as anorexia nervosa, stroke, and hypothyroidism.
- Certain drugs, such as antidepressants, sedatives, and opiate analgesics. These drugs can affect the body’s ability to control temperature.
- People who spend long periods in cold places, such as mountain climbers or homeless people.
Symptoms of Hypothermia
Symptoms of hypothermia are very diverse and sometimes difficult to recognize. The symptoms that occur depend on how low the body temperature of the person.
A baby with hypothermia may look healthy, but her skin will feel cold and look red. Babies also tend to be very silent, look limp, and do not want to feed or eat.
The symptoms of hypothermia generally develop slowly so often not realized by pengidapnya. People with mild hypothermia will show symptoms that include chills accompanied by fatigue, weakness, dizziness, hunger, nausea, cold or pale skin, and rapid breathing.
If the body temperature continues to drop below 32 ° C, the body with hypothermia usually can not trigger a shiver response anymore. This indicates the severity of hypothermia has entered the intermediate to severe stage.
People with moderate hypothermia attacks (body temperature 28-32 ° C) will experience symptoms such as:
- Drowsy or weak.
- Speaking unclear or muttering.
- Dazed and confused.
- Losing common sense, such as opening clothes even when cold.
- Difficult move and decreased body coordination.
- Slow and short breath.
- The level of consciousness continues to decline.
If not treated immediately, the body temperature will decrease and potentially trigger a severe hyportemia with body temperature 28 ° C down. This condition is characterized by the following symptoms:
- A weak, irregular pulse, or even no pulse at all.
- Widened pupils.
- Shortness of breath or not breathing at all.
If a child or any member of your family has any of these symptoms, take them as soon as possible to the hospital for emergency help.
Treatment Methods Hypothermia
The main step in dealing with hypothermia is to prevent the process of releasing body heat and warm the body sufferers slowly.
Before a person with hypothermia receives treatment from a professional medical officer, there are a number of emergency rescue methods you can do to help. These methods include:
- Monitoring respiratory infections. Immediately give an artificial breath if the person stops breathing.
- Treat people with caution. A rough or excessive movement can trigger a heart attack. Rubbing the hands or feet of the person should also be avoided.
- Move the person into a warm room or place where possible.
- But do not directly bathe the person with warm water.
- Remove the clothe if wet and replace with dry.
- Cover the body of the person (especially the abdomen and head) with a blanket or clothing to warm.
- If you are outdoors or outdoors, seal the soil with a blanket before lying down the person.
- Share body heat with a person, for example by hugging it carefully. Direct contact from skin to skin will be more effective.
- Give a warm drink if the person is still conscious and can swallow. But do not give a drink containing alcohol or caffeine.
- Use a warm towel or warm water bottle to compress the person. This compress should be placed on the neck, chest, or groin. Do not put it on the feet or hands because it can push cold blood to flow to the heart, lungs, and brain.
Upon arriving at the hospital, hypothermia sufferers will receive a series of medical treatment steps. The choice of treatment type will depend on the severity of hypothermia suffered by the person. Some of the most common types of intensive care include:
- Removing and warming the patient’s blood, then re-drain it into the patient’s body. This process is performed with a heart and lung shortcut (CPB) or a hemodialysis machine.
- Warms the respiratory tract by providing oxygen that has been moistened and warmed through a mask and hose.
- Provide an infusion containing a warmed saline solution.
- Drain a warm solution to pass through and warm some organs of the body, for example around the lungs or abdominal cavity.Untreated hypothermia can lead to several serious complications, such as frostbite or frostbite and gangrene (a rotting tissue due to blocked blood flow), or even death.
- Untreated hypothermia can lead to several serious complications, such as frostbite or frostbite and gangrene (a rotting tissue due to blocked blood flow), or even death.
Prevention of Hypothermia
Hypothermia can be prevented. The simple steps you can take to avoid hypothermia are:
- Keeping the body dry. Immediately change your wet clothes because it will absorb your body heat.
- Wear clothes that suit the weather and activities, especially for those who like to climb mountains or camp in a cool place. Use clothes from materials that can keep the body warm and absorb sweat, for example wool. Avoid cotton underwear. Use windproof and waterproof jackets.
- Do not forget to use hats, scarves, gloves, socks, and boots.
- Perform simple movements to warm the body, but do not sweat excessively. If exposed to wind, clothes that are wet with sweat can reduce body heat.
- Provide drinks and hot food, but avoid drinks containing alcohol or caffeine.
Infants and children are more susceptible to hypothermia attacks than adults. Therefore, you need to take preventive measures to avoid hypothermia. Among others are:
- Apply additional clothes or jackets to make their layers thicker.
- Do not let your baby sleep in a room too cold.
- Do not let your child play outside in the rain or cold weather. Immediately bring your child in when he starts shivering.
Avoiding and fortifying yourself from the cold air will help us to prevent potentially fatal hypothermia attacks.