Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Hypothermia Overview

What is hypothermia?
A person with hypothermia has an abnormally low body temperature that is below 95 degrees F (35 Celsius). Hypothermia occurs when the body loses more heat than it can produce. This can occur at temperatures above freezing, as well as below freezing. Many cases of hypothermia occur in cool, but not freezing temperatures. The elderly are particularly susceptible to hypothermia.

What are the symptoms of hypothermia?
Early symptoms of hypothermia may include fatigue, irritability, poor judgment, dizziness, numbness, pale skin, and shivering. Symptoms of severe hypothermia may include muscle stiffness, difficulty speaking, excessive sleepiness, low blood pressure, slow heart rate, slow breathing rate, poor coordination, confusion, and coma.

How does the doctor treat hypothermia?
Treatment for hypothermia depends on the severity. Treatment for severe hypothermia may include active rewarming techniques, such as warming blankets and pads, warm baths, warm intravenous fluids, warm humidified air, and blood rewarming.

Continue to Hypothermia Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 27, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Hypothermia References
  1. Epstein E, Anna K. Accidental hypothermia. BMJ. 2006 Mar 25;332(7543):706-9. [16565126]
  2. Jurkovich GJ. Environmental cold-induced injury. Surg Clin North Am. 2007 Feb;87(1):247-67, viii. [17127131]
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