ua en ru

Low body temperature is dangerous for health: Doctors' advice

Low body temperature is dangerous for health: Doctors' advice Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

People often worry about high body temperature. However, low body temperature is equally concerning. This serious condition is called hypothermia, according to the medical community Take Care of Yourself.

What is hypothermia

Hypothermia is a condition where the human body loses heat faster than it can produce it in sufficient quantities.

People often fear the "40 C" mark on the thermometer. However, such a temperature is not an emergency situation, unlike hypothermia. Of course, provided there are no other alarming symptoms such as vomiting, seizures, or fainting.

It is important to remember that if a person's temperature drops to 35 degrees or lower, it is a reason to take it pretty seriously. Hypothermia is often caused by cold weather or immersion in cold water.

List of symptoms

Initially, a person experiences trembling, as the body is trying hard to warm itself. Then the following symptoms appear:

  • the person begins to speak unintelligibly, speech becomes confused
  • breathing slows down, becomes shallow
  • the pulse weakens
  • the person feels drowsy, experiencing extreme weakness

In infants, serious chilling can cause skin reddening.

The most dangerous aspect is that a person does not always realize their condition, as the symptoms develop gradually. Moreover, confusion of consciousness generally does not allow for an adequate assessment of the situation.

The only reliable way to treat hypothermia is to warm up.

What to do

Doctors have outlined important rules to help in such a case, including:

  • if you suspect that a person has experienced serious chilling, call the emergency
  • while waiting for help, be extremely careful with the person. Avoid sudden movements and loud noises, as this can cause irregular heart rhythms
  • if the person's clothing is wet, carefully remove it, wrap the person in a warm dry blanket. But no rubbing.

Causes of the condition

Examples of situations that can cause hypothermia include:

  • clothing that is too light for specific weather conditions
  • prolonged exposure to cold outdoors
  • inability to change wet clothing or move to a warmer place
  • living in a poorly heated house
  • immersion in cold water, such as during boating

Some people are particularly vulnerable to a drop in body temperature and may develop hypothermia more quickly. This includes:

  • elderly people and small children
  • people with mental health issues
  • people with alcohol or drug addiction
  • people with certain chronic illnesses that affect the body's ability to regulate body temperature

How to protect yourself

Just remember the simple abbreviation COLD:

  • C (cover) - cover yourself: wear a hat, gloves, and, in some cases, a balaclava that covers the face can be helpful, too
  • O (overexertion) - don't sweat: a combination of wet clothing and cold weather increase the risk of overcooling
  • L (layers) - layers of clothing: wear loose, layered, light clothing
  • D (dry) - stay dry: it's important to stay as dry as possible. Keep your hands and feet dry, as they can easily get wet from snow.