You probably have read news about the “Global Cooling” that has been affecting many parts of the globe. One should therefore be cautious about this and always keep warm as much as possible. One of the risks of being exposed to the cold is Hypothermia.
Hypothermia, according to medical dictionaries, occurs when the body’s core temperature falls below 35 deg. C (95 deg. F). Hypothermia is the opposite of hyperthermia which occurs during heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
There are many types of hypothermia. Doctors describe them as:
Acute hypothermia. This happens when the body temperature drops rapidly, like when a person falls into cold water.
Chronic Hypothermia. This occurs when body heat is lost slowly over time, for example, prolonged exposure to indoor temperature of 10-18 deg. C (50-60 deg. F).
People at risk of getting hypothermia:
Older people. Their bodies have less ability to regulate temperature, especially if they are not active and have other illnesses.
Infants. They can't regulate their body temperature as well as older children and adults.
Heavy drug and/or alcohol users. These substances affect the body's ability to retain heat. The blood vessels stay widened (dilated), allowing heat to escape.
People with certain health conditions, such as heart problems or head injuries. These conditions can change the body's ability to respond to temperature changes.
Someone who has fallen into cold water, which can cause the body's core temperature to drop rapidly.
People who spend long periods in cold weather conditions, such as climbers and skiers.
The signs and symptoms of hypothermia: Intense shivering; stiffness and numbness in the arms and legs; stumbling and clumsiness; drowsiness, disorientation, nausea and irrational behavior; and difficulty speaking.
First-Aid: Until emergency help arrives, a victim of hypothermia should be warmed by removing wet clothing and footwear, drying the skin, and wrapping him or her in warm blankets or a sleeping bag. Rubbing the skin can be harmful, as the muscular activity will pump cold blood and cause their core temperature to drop even more. Don’t give alcohol as it lowers the body’s ability to retain heat. Warm drinks such as clear soup and tea are recommended for those who can swallow.
Hypothermia is definitely not a joke as it can be fatal if not addressed at its early stages. So, best to stay warm as toast inside your homes. Or if ever you go out, wear appropriate clothing.