Hypothermia is a severe condition in which the body temperature drops to an abnormally low level. The normal body temperature itself within 36 to 37.5 Celsius. It occurs when the body is unable to produce enough heat to counter the heat that it is losing.
The part of the brain that controls body temperature is called the hypothalamus. When the hypothalamus recognizes changes in body temperature, it initiates body responses to bring the temperature back in line.
The body produces heat during routine metabolic processes in cells that support vital bodily functions. Most heat leaves the body through the skin's surface by the processes of convection, conduction, radiation, and evaporation.
If the environment becomes colder, the body shivers. This increase in muscle activity generates more heat. However, if the body loses heat more quickly than it can make it, the core temperature will fall.
Signs and symptoms of hypothermia include:
First aid treatment
Anyone with symptoms of hypothermia will need immediate medical assistance.
Until medical assistance arrives, taking the following action can help:
Understanding and being prepared for hypothermia is integral to its prevention.
People are at higher risk if they: