Acute Hypothermia

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Hypothermia is a condition that develops when body temperature drops below 95˚F (35˚C). Acute means the condition starts suddenly, gets worse quickly, and lasts a short time. Hypothermia can happen if your body loses too much heat or cannot keep a constant temperature. Hypothermia is classified according to temperature. Mild is 90-95˚F (32.2-35˚C). Moderate is 82.4-89.9˚F (28-32.1˚C). Severe is below 82.4˚F (28˚C).

INSTRUCTIONS:

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:

You may need blood tests or other tests to monitor your condition. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Prevent hypothermia:

  • Dress in layers. Wear gloves, a warm hat, and thick socks in cold weather. Wear socks and a warm cap when you sleep. Keep an emergency bag with a dry, insulating blanket in your car in case you get lost or injured.

  • Do not drink alcohol when you are outside in cold weather.

  • Try to keep your home heated above 64.4˚F (18˚C). A hot drink at bedtime, hot water bottle, or electric blanket can help keep you warm while you sleep.

  • Get up and move at least once an hour.

  • Ask family, friends, or neighbors to check on you in cold weather. Ask your caregiver about services that can help if you need shelter, warm clothing or food, or heating assistance.

For support and more information:

  • American Red Cross National Headquarters
    2025 E Street NW
    Washington , DC 20006
    Phone: 1- 202 - 303-4498
    Web Address: http://www.redcross.org

Contact your primary healthcare provider or specialist if:

  • You are shivering, breathing fast, or your heart is beating faster than usual.

  • You feel clumsy or confused.

  • Your hands and feet become pale.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You are breathing more slowly than usual, or your heartbeat is slow and out of rhythm.

  • Your skin becomes swollen and blue or gray.

  • Your muscles feel tight and are hard to move.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Acute Hypothermia (Aftercare Instructions)

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