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  • Baby, It's Cold Inside!

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    Normally, we think of Hypothermia as only occurring from prolonged exposure to harsh outdoor weather, and that’s largely accurate. But did you know that Hypothermia can occur indoors as well? It can and pose severe health risks for the very young or elderly, and those who are not in optimal health.

    Let’s take a second and review exactly what Hypothermia is. Hypothermia is when your body temperature drops significantly in response to cold temperatures. It can be fatal if left untreated, so here are some ways to ward off the chill using the ‘COLD’ system of prevention:

    Awareness and prevention are key

    The body’s natural response to cold is to begin shivering. As hypothermia progresses, the shivering reaction will slow down while the person’s cognitive ability will begin to diminish, most notably in their speech. Speech can become slurred and disjointed. If this happens, it is critical to get the individual immediate emergency care. In many cases, calling 911 is the proper course of action.

    Some contributing factors that might not be immediately considered, yet are crucial for caregivers to recognize:

    Age (especially advanced age): Children and the elderly are more susceptible. “Both extremes of age are more at risk because they just don’t have the ability to adapt to the environment,” says Dr. Waters.

    Medical conditions: Dementia, hypothyroidism, low blood sugar and high blood pressure sometimes contribute to hypothermia. “Blood pressure medications can inhibit your body’s ability to respond to cold,” he says.

    Medication: Certain medications, as well as medical conditions, sometimes increase the risk for older adults.

    Dehydration: Lower blood volume affects your circulation and your body can lose heat more quickly.

    Strenuous outdoor activities: Even athletes sometimes become dangerously overtired and also lose heat more quickly if they are damp from sweating.

    Alcohol use: “Alcohol causes the blood vessels to dilate, so you’ll feel warmer but actually become hypothermic quicker,” Dr. Waters says. “It can also lead to poor decision-making, so it’s best to avoid alcohol when it’s cold.” << Reprinted from Cleveland Clinic >>

    The best way to deal with cold weather and to avoid hypothermia is to prepare. Remember this acronym:

    C – Clothing. Wear dry, warm clothing, including a hat.

    O – Open. Make sure clothing is open during exercise to avoid excessive sweating.

    L – Loose. Dress in loose layers.

    D – Dry. Stay as dry as possible

    Dawn
    Jan 15, 2019
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