February 23, 2015
Recent frigid weather can cost lives and limbs…
Edgar is a retired mailman. Every winter there are a few snowstorms in Virginia where he lives. One day last year the temperature hovered around 10°F, and a snowstorm left 2 feet of snow on the ground, causing the power lines to snap. The temperature inside Edgar’s apartment quickly dropped to 55°F. When his neighbor checked on him the next day, Edgar was confused, and his speech was slurred. He was taken to the emergency room where a doctor examined him. It turns out Edgar had hypothermia.
Almost everyone knows about winter dangers for older people such as broken bones from falls on ice or breathing problems caused by cold air. But, not everyone knows that cold weather can also lower the temperature inside your body. This drop in body temperature is called hypothermia (hi-po-ther-mee-uh), and it can be deadly if not treated quickly. Hypothermia can happen anywhere—not just outside and not just in northern states. In fact, some older people can have a mild form of hypothermia if the temperature in their home is too cool.
What Are The Signs Of Hypothermia?
When you think about being cold, you probably think of shivering. That is one way the body stays warm when it gets cold. But, shivering alone does not mean you have hypothermia.
How do you know if someone has hypothermia? Look for the “umbles”—stumbles, mumbles, fumbles,and grumbles—these show that the cold is a problem. Check for:
- Confusion or sleepiness
- Slowed, slurred speech, or shallow breathing
- Weak pulse
- Change in behavior or in the way a person looks
- A lot of shivering or no shivering; stiffness in the arms or legs
- Poor control over body movements or slow reactions
READ MORE HERE http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/hypothermia