Hypothermia - Overview
Low body temperature; Cold exposure
Definition of Hypothermia:
Hypothermia is dangerously low body temperature, below 95 °F (35 °C).
Persons most likely to experience hypothermia include those who are:
- Very old or very young
- Chronically ill, especially who have heart or blood flow problems
- Overly tired
- Under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Hypothermia occurs when more heat is lost than the body can generate. It is usually caused by extended exposure to the cold.
Common causes include:
- Being outside without enough protective clothing in winter
- Falling overboard from a boat into cold water
- Wearing wet clothing in windy or cold weather
- Heavy exertion, not drinking enough fluids, or not eating enough in cold weather
- Reviewed last on: 1/14/2010
- Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, Washington. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Danzl DF. Accidental hypothermia. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, eds. Rosenâ€™s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2009:chap 138.
Bessen HA. Hypothermia. In: Tintinalli JE, Kelen GD, Stapczynski JS, Ma OJ, Cline DM, eds. Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill; 2004:chap 192.
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