Hypothermia - The Cold Facts
If you ever go to cold countries, you should undoubtedly have heard of Hypothermia. If you haven't, you should learn something about it. Your very own life may depend on knowing the information below:
Hypothermia is a condition marked by an abnormally low internal body temperature. It develops when body heat is lost faster than it can be replaced. Normal muscular and cerebral functions become impaired and death can follow if it becomes worse. This takes place below 96ŗ F and lower.
Signs of hypothermia include confusion or sleepiness; slurred speech or shallow breathing; weak pulse or low blood pressure; stiffness in the arms or legs or poor control over body movements. Severe hypothermia can cause an irregular heartbeat, leading to heart failure and death.
Symptoms of Hypothermia
Shivering is typically the first sign of hypothermia. It eventually becomes uncontrollable. However with severe hypothermia, shivering stops. One of the key indicators that the victim has moved from mild/moderate hypothermia to severe hypothermia is that he/she is no longer shivering.
Behavior changes like complaining, difficulty in speaking, and uncoordinated movements. Victims will struggle to perform simple tasks like walking a straight line or zipping up their coat. With severe hypothermia, behavior changes from erratic to apathetic to unresponsive. Uncharacteristic behavior like inappropriate excitement or lethargy, poor judgment, and poor decision making are common.
Cold, pale and blue-gray skin due to constricting blood vessels. May develop into a coma, with dilated pupils making it difficult to determine if the victim is alive or dead.
How Heat is Lost from the Body
Convection: Heat is carried away from the body by currents of air or water. Wind chill is an example of convection.
Conduction: Transfer of heat between two contacting surfaces. Water conducts heat 25 times faster than air and steel is even faster than water. Generally conductive heat loss accounts for only about 2% of overall loss. However, with wet clothes the loss is increased 5 times.
Evaporation: Heat loss when water is removed from the body during sweating and respiration.
Radiation: The loss of radiated heat from a warm body to a surrounding colder environment. This is more significant on cold, cloudless nights. Factors important in radiant heat loss are the surface area and the temperature gradient.
It is important to recognize the strong connection between fluid levels, fluid loss, and heat loss. As the body moisture is lost through the various evaporative processes the overall circulating volume of water in the body is reduced, leading to dehydration. This decrease in fluid level makes the body more susceptible to hypothermia.
Field Treatment for Hypothermia
The basic principles of re-warming a hypothermic victim are to conserve the heat they have and to replace the body fuel they are burning up to generate that heat.
Reduce Heat Loss. Find shelter from the wind, and cold. This could be under a tree, in tent, or in a sleeping bag. If at all possible, get the victim off of the ground (a foam pad would be ideal). Remove any wet clothing and replace with layers of dry clothing, increased physical activity.
Add Fuel and Fluids. Keep a hypothermic person adequately hydrated and fueled. Give them warm, sweet liquids but NO coffee or tea - and NEVER ALCOHOL!
Alcohol - a vasodilator - increases peripheral heat loss
Caffeine - a diuretic - causes water loss increasing dehydration
Tobacco/nicotine - a vasoconstrictor, increases risk of frostbite Provide Heat Source. Light a fire or a stove.
Seek Medical Attention as quickly as possible. Never leave a hypothermic victim alone.
Prevention of Hypothermia
Dress Appropriately. Wear clothing to keep the warmth. Avoid cotton!
Stay Dry - be aware that water comes from both the outside (environment) and the inside (perspiration). Stay out of the wind if possible.
Keep Your Body Burning. Stay hydrated, and eat foods like carbohydrates and proteins to provide energy.
Conserve Your Energy. Exhaustion leads to a quicker onset of hypothermia.
It's important to keep warm and dry during the cold, winter months. Dressing appropriately can make a big difference. Wear several loose, warm layers. Thick wool socks and a cap can combat winter's chills. At night, use extra blankets because hypothermia can develop during sleep. Thermal underwear are excellent for keeping the heat in your body.
Get plenty of rest. Fatigue makes you more vulnerable to subnormal heat and cold. Eat nutritious foods, and exercise moderately. Limit your alcohol intake because alcohol speeds up body heat loss.
I hope this information will serve you well when you travel to the extremely cold regions of the world. As a professional seafarer who had worked in extremely cold regions, I have found that thermal underwear gives excellent comfort even in icy arctic cold weather conditions. Excellent high tech thermal underwear could be obtain from Hi-tech Thermal Underwear
Many years of working experience in Marine, Facilities, Construction has given the author material for writing e-books and articles related to engineering, and management. Subscribe to facworld ezine More information at Marine Engineer and M & E Engineer
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I had a call the other day from a potential client in a serious situation. He was young and had been diagnosed with CAD (Coronary Artery Disease), suffering from extremely high blood pressure and cholesterol, his doctor had put him on a medication that was suppose to lower and control these symptoms, and he had been on this medication for over 2 years.
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The news has been full of the recent FDA findings on a new set of drugs to help relieve pain. These drugs have been approved for re-release, but it is unclear whether Vioxx will be available again and whether physicians will feel comfortable prescribing Celebrex and Bextra for many of their patients.
Zicam Side Effects: Shortens Colds But Permanently Destroys Sense of Smell
Zicam is a homeopathic intranasal zinc remedy that is intended to reduce the length of a cold. It is either taken in a spray or a swab.
22 Inside Tips on How You Can Make Your Arthritis Medicines Work Twice as Effectively in Half the..
This report will give you 22 important tips to make sure that you're getting the very best out of your arthritis treatment program.1.
Medical Billing PDA: 21st Century Convenience for Medical Practices
Medical Billing PDAOne of the first things I notice about a medical office, whether it be with my dentist, my family doctor, or my optometrist, is the walls full of color-coded files containing medical histories, billing information, and tracking information for prescriptions check ups and various other things. As a patient, it is fun to trace the colored tags across the files and wonder what they mean.
Christopher Reeve To Have Promoted Basement Lab
Chrisopher Reeve has died. But his vision of a "Cure" has not.
Sinusitis: Sinus Infection Deals a Corporate KO
Sinusitis and Sinus Infection Starts with a Little SniffleYes, I hear it too. A simple sniffle in a distant cubical.
How To Save Money On Prescription Medications
If you are a regular user of prescription medications, you know that these drugs can be costly to purchase. Cutting back on drugs can be dangerous to your health, but if you are on a fixed income your choices can seem limited.
Are You Suffering From Addiction?
Many researchers believe that addiction is a behavior that can be controlled to some extent and also a brain disease. And since some testing with functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) found that all addictions tend to cause nearly the same reactions inside the brain, there could be one type of control model for addiction health-related issues.
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