With winter comes the risk of hypothermia. Hypothermia, defined as below-normal body temperature, can be life-threatening if not promptly treated.
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), older people have an increased risk for hypothermia. As people age, the natural ability to keep warm in the cold may decrease. Inactivity, illness, and certain medications make it even harder to stay warm. Learn the signs of hypothermia. The sooner treatment starts, the better the outcome.
Early signs of hypothermia include:
Late signs of hypothermia may include:
Call for emergency medical services right away if you think you or a loved one may have hypothermia.
Hypothermia is preventable. Some tips for avoiding hypothermia include:
National Association of Area Agencies on Aging
National Institute on Aging
Accidental hypothermia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 21, 2015. Accessed April 27, 2016.
Hypothermia: a cold weather hazard. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/newsroom/2011/02/hypothermia-cold-weather-hazard. Updated February 2, 2011. Accessed April 27, 2016.
Stay safe in cold weather. National Institute on Aging website. Available at: http://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/stay_safe_in_cold_weather.pdf. Updated June 2011. Accessed April 27, 2016.
Last reviewed April 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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