Tag Archives: Thermoregulation

Hypothermia

Definition:-
Hypothermia  is a condition in which core temperature drops below the required temperature for normal metabolism and body functions which is defined as 35.0 °C (95.0 °F). Body temperature is usually maintained near a constant level of 36.5–37.5 °C (98–100 °F) through biologic homeostasis or thermoregulation. If exposed to cold and the internal mechanisms are unable to replenish the heat that is being lost, a drop in core temperature occurs. As body temperature decreases, characteristic symptoms occur such as shivering and mental confusion.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs cannot work correctly. Left untreated, hypothermia eventually leads to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and to death.

Hypothermia is most often caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in a cold body of water. Primary treatments are methods to warm the body back to a normal temperature.

Hypothermia is the opposite of hyperthermia which is present in heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The lowest documented body temperature from which anyone has recovered was 13.0 °C (55.4 °F), in a drowning incident involving a 7-year-old girl in Sweden in December 2010

Clasification:
Normal human body temperature in adults is 34.4–37.8 °C (94–100 °F). Sometimes a narrower range is stated, such as 36.5–37.5 °C (98–100 °F). Hypothermia is defined as any body temperature below 35.0 °C (95.0 °F). It is subdivided into four different degrees, mild 32–35 °C (90–95 °F); moderate, 28–32 °C (82–90 °F); severe, 20–28 °C (68–82 °F); and profound at less than 20 °C (68 °F). This is in contrast to hyperthermia and fever which are defined as a temperature of greater than 37.5 °C (99.5 °F)-38.3 °C (100.9 °F).

Other cold-related injuries that can either be present alone or in combination with hypothermia include:

*Chilblains are superficial ulcers of the skin that occur when a predisposed individual is repeatedly exposed to cold.
*Frostbite involves the freezing and destruction of tissue.
*Frostnip is a superficial cooling of tissues without cellular destruction.
*Trench foot or immersion foot is due to repetitive exposure to wet, non-freezing temperatures

Symptoms:-
The signs and symptoms vary depending on the degree of hypothermia and may be divided by the three stages of severity.

Mild:
Symptoms of mild hypothermia may be vague  with sympathetic nervous system excitation (shivering, hypertension, tachycardia, tachypnea, and vasoconstriction). These are all physiological responses to preserve heat.  Cold diuresis, mental confusion, as well as hepatic dysfunction may also be present. Hyperglycemia may be present, as glucose consumption by cells and insulin secretion both decrease, and tissue sensitivity to insulin may be blunted. Sympathetic activation also releases glucose from the liver. In many cases, however, especially in alcoholic patients, hypoglycemia appears to be a more common presentation. Hypoglycemia is also found in many hypothermic patients because hypothermia often is a result of hypoglycemia.

Moderate:
Low body temperature results in shivering becoming more violent.(Shivering is your body’s automatic defense against cold temperature — an attempt to warm itself. Constant shivering is a key sign of hypothermia) Muscle mis-coordination becomes apparent. Movements are slow and labored, accompanied by a stumbling pace and mild confusion, although the victim may appear alert. Surface blood vessels contract further as the body focuses its remaining resources on keeping the vital organs warm. The victim becomes pale. Lips, ears, fingers and toes may become blue.

Severe:
Difficulty in speaking, sluggish thinking, and amnesia start to appear; inability to use hands and stumbling is also usually present. Cellular metabolic processes shut down. Below 30 °C (86 °F), the exposed skin becomes blue and puffy, muscle coordination becomes very poor, walking becomes almost impossible, and the victim exhibits incoherent/irrational behavior including terminal burrowing or even a stupor. Pulse and respiration rates decrease significantly, but fast heart rates (ventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation) can occur. Major organs fail. Clinical death occurs. Because of decreased cellular activity in stage 3 hypothermia, the body will actually take longer to undergo brain death.

As the temperature decreases further physiological systems falter and heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure all decreases. This results in an expected HR in the 30s with a temperature of 28 °C (82 °F).

Paradoxical undressing:
Twenty to fifty percent of hypothermia deaths are associated with paradoxical undressing. This typically occurs during moderate to severe hypothermia, as the person becomes disoriented, confused, and combative. They may begin discarding their clothing, which, in turn, increases the rate of heat loss.

Rescuers who are trained in mountain survival techniques are taught to expect this; however, some may assume incorrectly that urban victims of hypothermia have been subjected to a sexual assault.

One explanation for the effect is a cold-induced malfunction of the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature. Another explanation is that the muscles contracting peripheral blood vessels become exhausted (known as a loss of vasomotor tone) and relax, leading to a sudden surge of blood (and heat) to the extremities, fooling the person into feeling overheated.

Terminal burrowing:
In the final stages of hypothermia, the brain stem produces a burrowing-like behavior. Similar to hibernation behavior in animals, individuals with severe hypothermia are often found in small, enclosed spaces, such as under the bed or behind wardrobes.

Cause:
Hypothermia occurs when your body loses heat faster than it produces it. The most common causes of hypothermia are exposure to cold weather conditions or cold water, but prolonged exposure to any environment colder than your body can lead to hypothermia if you aren’t dressed appropriately or can’t control the conditions. Specific conditions leading to hypothermia include:

*Wearing clothes that aren’t warm enough for weather conditions

*Staying out in the cold too long

*Unable to get out of wet clothes or move to a warm, dry location

*Accidental falls in water, as in a boating accident

*Inadequate heating in the home, especially for older people and infants

*Air conditioning that is too cold, especially for older people and infants

How your body loses heat
The mechanisms of heat loss from your body include the following:

*Radiated heat. Most heat loss is due to heat radiated from unprotected surfaces of your body. Your head has a large surface area and accounts for about half of all heat loss.

*Direct contact. If you’re in direct contact with something very cold, such as cold water or the cold ground, heat is conducted away from your body. Because water is very good at transferring heat from your body, body heat is lost much faster in cold water than in cold air. Water that is 65 F (18 C) — a relatively mild air temperature — can lead to hypothermia very quickly. Similarly, heat loss from your body is much faster if your clothes are wet, as when you’re caught out in the rain.Wind.

*Wind removes body heat by carrying away the thin layer of warm air at the surface of your skin. A wind chill factor is important in causing heat loss. For example, if the outside temperature is 32 F (0 C) and the wind chill factor is minus 15 F (minus 26 C), your body loses heat as quickly as if the actual temperature outside were minus 15 F (minus 26 C).

Risk Factors:
A number of factors can increase the risk of developing hypothermia:

CLICK & SEE

*Older age. People age 65 and older are more vulnerable to hypothermia for a number of reasons. The body’s ability to regulate temperature and to sense cold may lessen with age. Older people are also more likely to have a medical condition that affects temperature regulation. Some older adults may not be able to communicate when they are cold or may not be mobile enough to get to a warm location.

*Very young age. Children lose heat faster than adults do. Children have a larger head-to-body ratio than adults do, making them more prone to heat loss through the head. Children may also ignore the cold because they’re having too much fun to think about it. And they may not have the judgment to dress properly in cold weather or to get out of the cold when they should. Infants may have a special problem with the cold because they have less efficient mechanisms for generating heat.

*Mental impairment. People with a mental illness, dementia or another condition that impairs judgment may not dress appropriately for the weather or understand the risk of cold weather. People with dementia may wander from home or get lost easily, making them more likely to be stranded outside in cold or wet weather.Alcohol and drug use.

*Alcohol may make your body feel warm inside, but it causes your blood vessels to dilate, or expand, resulting in more rapid heat loss from the surface of your skin. The use of alcohol or recreational drugs can impair your judgment about the need to get inside or wear warm clothes in cold weather conditions. If a person is intoxicated and passes out in cold weather, he or she is likely to develop hypothermia.

*Certain medical conditions. Some health disorders affect your body’s ability to regulate body temperature. Examples include underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), malnutrition, stroke, severe arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, trauma, spinal cord injuries, burns, disorders that affect sensation in your extremities (for example, nerve damage in the feet of people with diabetes), dehydration and any condition that limits activity or restrains the normal flow of blood.

*Medications. A number of antipsychotic drugs and sedatives can impair the body’s ability to regulate its temperature.

Diagnosis:-
Accurate determination of core temperature often requires a special low temperature thermometer, as most clinical thermometers do not measure accurately below 34.4°C (94°F). A low temperature thermometer can be placed rectally, esophageally, or in the bladder. The classical ECG finding of hypothermia is the Osborne J wave. Also, ventricular fibrillation frequently occurs at <28°C (82.4°F) and asystole at <20°C (68°F). The Osborn J may look very similar to those of an acute ST elevation myocardial infarction. Thrombolysis as a reaction to the presence of Osborn J waves is not indicated, as it would only worsen the underlying coagulopathy caused by hypothermia.

As a hypothermic person’s heart rate may be very slow, prolonged palpation could be required before detecting a pulse. In 2005 American Heart Association recommended at least 30 – 45 seconds to verify the absence of a pulse before initiating CPR.

Most physicians are recommended not to declare a patient dead until their body is warmed to a normal body temperature, since extreme hypothermia can suppress heart and brain function.

Treatment:-
Aggressiveness of treatment is matched to the degree of hypothermia. Treatment ranges from noninvasive, passive external warming, to active external rewarming, to active core rewarming. In severe cases resuscitation begins with simultaneous removal from the cold environment and concurrent management of the airway, breathing, and circulation. Rapid rewarming is then commenced. A minimum of patient movement is recommended as aggressive handling may increase risks of a dysrhythmia.

Hypoglycemia is a frequent complication of hypothermia, and therefore needs to be tested for and treated. Intravenous thiamine and glucose is often recommended as many causes of hypothermia are complicated by Wernicke’s encephalopathy

Rewarming
Rewarming can be achieved using a number of different methods including passive external rewarming, active external rewarming, and active internal rewarming. Passive external rewarming involves the use of a person’s own heat generating ability through the provision of properly insulated dry clothing and moving to a warm environment. It is recommended for those with mild hypothermia. Active external rewarming involves applying warming devices externally such as warmed forced air (a Bair Hugger is a commonly used device). In austere environments hypothermia can sometimes be treated by placing a hot water bottle in both armpits and groin.  It is recommended for moderate hypothermia. Active core rewarming involves the use of intravenous warmed fluids, irrigation of body cavities with warmed fluids (the thorax, peritoneal, stomach, or bladder), use of warm humidified inhaled air, or use of extracorporeal rewarming such as via a heart lung machine. Extracorporeal rewarming is the fastest method for those with severe hypothermia.

Intravenous fluids:
As most people are moderately dehydrated due to hypothermia induced cold diuresis, intravenous fluids are often helpful ( 250-500 cc 5% dextrose and normal saline warmed to a temperature of 40-45 C is often recommended ).

Rewarming collapse:
Rewarming collapse (or rewarming shock) is a sudden drop in blood pressure in combination with a low cardiac output which may occur during active treatment of a severely hypothermic person. There is theoretical concern that external rewarming rather than internal rewarming may increase the risk. However, recent studies have not supported these concerns.

Prognosis:-
There is considerable evidence that children who suffer near-drowning accidents in water near 0°C (32°F) can be revived over an hour after losing consciousness. The cold water lowers metabolism, allowing the brain to withstand a much longer period of hypoxia. While survival is possible, mortality from severe or profound hypothermia remains high despite optimal treatment. Studies estimate mortality at between 38% – 75%. If there are obvious fatal injuries or chest is too frozen, compression resuscitation is futile

Prevention:
The Government offers extra support for some of the most vulnerable people in the form of winter fuel payments, to help keep their homes warm.

Other ways to prevent hypothermia include:
•Stay indoors as much as possible and limit your exposure to the cold
•Eat regularly and include plenty of carbohydrates (the body needs a reliable and constant energy supply to generate heat)
•Keep as active as possible
•Avoid alcohol – it causes dilation of peripheral blood vessel, increasing heat loss
•Avoid caffeine – it’s a diuretic and increases the risk of dehydration, which aggravates heat loss
•Avoid nicotine – it constricts blood vessels and increases the risk of cold damage such as frostbite
•Wear multiple thin layers of clothing that help to trap air layers and hence traps heat, rather than one thick jumper
•If you go outside, always wear a hat (it can prevent as much as 20 per cent of heat loss), scarf and gloves
•Take a flask of caffeine-free hot drink with you, and click-activated heat pads you can keep in your pockets to set off when you need them

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/hypothermia1.shtml
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothermia/DS00333
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothermia

http://trialx.com/curebyte/2011/05/22/clinical-trials-and-images-of-hypothermia/

Enhanced by Zemanta

Going gray? Hair ‘Bleaches Itself as People Age’

Why people turn gray is no longer a gray area, for scientists have finally solved the mystery by discovering that hair bleaches itself as  people age.

CLICK & SEE

A team in Europe has found that going gray is caused by a massive build up of hydrogen peroxide due to wear and tear of our hair follicles. The peroxide winds up blocking the normal synthesis of melanin, our hair’s natural pigment.

According to Gerald Weissmann, the Editor-in-Chief of the ‘FASEB Journal‘, which published the study, “All of our hair cells make a tiny bit of hydrogen peroxide, but as we get older, this little bit becomes a lot.

“We bleach our hair pigment from within, and our hair turns gray and then white. This research, however, is an important first step to get at the root of the problem, so to speak.”

In fact, the scientists made this discovery by examining cell cultures of human hair follicles. They found the build up of hydrogen peroxide was caused by a reduction of an enzyme that breaks up hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen (catalase).

They also discovered that hair follicles could not repair the damage caused by the hydrogen peroxide because of low levels of enzymes that normally serve this function (MSR A and B).

Sources: The Times Of India

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

How Can YOU Control Your Excessive Sweating and Odor?

The best way to stop excessive sweating is to find the cause. For example, if it only occurs when you are nervous or anxious, stress reduction techniques in combination with the proper use of an antiperspirant may go a long way toward getting this under control. However, if the perspiration affects multiple areas of your body no matter what the situation, you may have a form of excess sweating known as hyperhidrosis. As for the odor, it’s most likely caused by the bacteria on your skin as it comes in contact with the perspiration. But one thing is clear: The symptoms are affecting the quality of your life and it’s time to regain control with a visit to your physician.

…………...CLICK & SEE

Sweating the small stuff:
Sweating is a part of life. Normal sweating is usually caused by one or a combination of the following:

1.Your body is too hot and needs to cool off (from fever due to an illness, hot temperatures, too many layers of clothing)…….CLICK & SEE

2.You’re anxious and stressed…..CLICK & SEE

3.You’re performing strenuous exercise……..CLICK & SEE

The pattern of perspiration may be different depending upon the situation. For instance, when you’re nervous, the sweat often appears under the armpits, the hands and even on the forehead. In contrast, when you exercise, the sweat tends to occur throughout the body.

Needless to say, the location, amount, odor and frequency that the sweating occurs are unique to each individual. For some, it’s explainable and hardly noticeable. For others, the potential for embarrassment exists and can change life experiences. This makes it especially important to speak with your physician and provide the answers to the following questions:

*Where does your sweating occur (armpits, groin, whole body, hands, feet, face)?
*At what age did it begin (early to mid teenage years) and does heavy perspiration run in your family?
*How often does it occur (everyday, a few times per week, once a month)?
*When does it occur (during the daytime, wakes you up at night, day and night)?
*How often do you need to change your clothes (shirts, socks, others) due to excessive perspiration (once, twice or several times per day)?
*Do you get skin irritations or infections in the areas where you constantly sweat?
*How often do you need to shower during the day to get rid of the odor?
*Are you afraid to shake hands because of your sweaty palms? If so, how often do you find yourself drying them off due to excess perspiration?
*Are you afraid to wear certain colors because the sweat stains will show through?
*What products have you tried (deodorants, antiperspirants) and did they provide any relief?
*Do certain situations make your sweating worse (spicy foods, when you are anxious or upset, meeting a new person)?
*Have other symptoms occurred since your sweating problem began (fever, cough, joint pains, rash)
*Are you taking any prescription, non-prescription or herbal medications?
*Does your sweating or fear of sweating keep you from certain events or social activities?

Next, It is advised to encourage you to take a look at the information at the International Hyperhidrosis Society to see how you rate on the hyperhidrosis disease severity scale. A result of 3 or 4 means you’re sweating is life-altering and may clue your physician to check for the conditions known as primary focal or secondary generalized hyperhidrosis.

Techniques to decrease perspiration:
If excess perspiration occurs only when you are stressed or nervous, relaxation techniques learned through biofeedback, hypnotherapy, yoga and/or meditation might help to decrease your anxiety induced sweating. Acupuncture may even provide some relief. However, if your sweating is made worse by a multitude of factors including hyperhydrosis, other suggestions to consider include but aren’t limited to the following:

*Avoid or decrease the consumption of caffeinated products

*Bathe daily to limit the amount of bacteria contributing to the sweaty odor

*Eliminate odor-producing foods (onions, garlic, others) from your diet

*Wear loose fitting clothes containing materials such as cotton, wool and silk. These “breathable” fabrics allow for a better flow between your skin and the surrounding air.

*Use antiperspirants daily to stop the sweat and the odor, instead of deodorants, which stop the odor, but not the sweat.
*While these products are commonly applied to the armpits, they are also effective in other areas such as the hands and feet.

*Antiperspirants are available with and without a prescription. Look for the ingredient aluminum chloride hexahydrate, a very effective agent for problem sweating. Preparations containing 10-15 percent aluminum chloride hexahydrate work well for excessive perspiration in the armpits, while those containing 30 percent tend to work better for problem sweating of the hands and feet. Apply the antiperspirant after the area has been dried (use a towel or cool air from a blow dryer) once per night (works better than a morning application as it takes six to eight hours for the antiperspirant to plug the pores and block the flow of sweat) or twice per day (morning and night).

*Consider the use of iontophoresis for extreme and uncontrolled sweating of hands and/or feet. This technique uses very low levels of electric current applied during a 15 to 20 minute session over a period of time (days or weeks). It seems to slow or shut down the flow of perspiration through the sweat glands.

*Injection of botulinum toxin type A (Botox) to the affected areas (armpits, hands, feet and even the face) where sweating is not controlled by other methods. One treatment is very effective at stopping the flow of sweat for a period of four to seven months, sometimes longer.

Fortunately, much can be done to help prevent or minimize the discomfort and embarrassment caused by your drenching underarm sweating.  If you wish you may contact  Mayo Clinic to help you.

Therapeutic  treatment of   excessive sweating  is : IONOSPHERES

You may click to see:->Excessive Sweating – Red Hands

Prickly Heat: When Sweating Hurts
Night Sweats
Can Stress Cause Body Odor?

Sources:MSN Health & Fitness

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Hypothermia

Definition:
Hypothermia is a condition in which an organism’s temperature drops below that required for normal metabolism and bodily functions. In warm-blooded animals, core body temperature is maintained near a constant level through biologic homeostasis. But when the body is exposed to cold its internal mechanisms may be unable to replenish the heat that is being lost to the organism’s surroundings....click & see

Hypothermia is the opposite of hyperthermia, the condition which causes heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Hypothermia occurs when the body’s core temperature is lowered due to exposure to cold. It can occur even at mild temperatures if exposure is prolonged.

The body’s natural defences against the cold consist of restricting the flow of blood to the skin so as to prevent heat loss, along with shivering and releasing hormones to generate heat.

These measures are limited and are usually inadequate to maintain body temperature in cold environments.

Causes:
The causes vary, and include increased susceptibility to flu and other viruses.
However, hypothermia is one of the most deadly cold-induced conditions and, if not caught and treated early on, can lead to a rapid decline in the body’s ability to function normally.

Unlike other warm-blooded animals that have a layer of fur or blubber to keep them warm, you need an extra layer of clothing to keep you warm when it’s cold outside. Without that extra layer of clothing, more heat escapes from your body than your body can produce. If too much heat escapes, the result is hypothermia. Exposure to cold water and certain medical conditions also can cause hypothermia.

Your normal core body temperature is usually right around 98.6 F. In hypothermia, your body fails to maintain a normal temperature. An internal body temperature of 95 F or lower signals hypothermia.

The cause of hypothermia usually is extended exposure to cold temperatures or a cool, damp environment. Other contributing causes include inadequate clothing and neglecting to adequately cover your extremities, particularly your head — a disproportionate amount of heat is lost through your head.

Hypothermia in milder weather

Hypothermia can happen not just in cold winter weather, when there are low temperatures or low wind chill factors, but under milder conditions as well. A rain shower that soaks you to the skin on a cool day can lead to hypothermia if you don’t move inside to warm up and dry off. If you stay outside, evaporation of the water from your skin further cools your body, lowering your internal temperature. A wind blowing over the wet parts of your body greatly increases evaporation and cooling.

An accidental fall into cold water is especially likely to lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia may develop within minutes of being exposed to cold water, or it may take several hours, depending on the water temperature. Water doesn’t have to be icy cold to cause hypothermia. Your body loses heat more quickly in water than in air. Any water temperature lower than your body temperature causes your body to lose at least some heat.

Click to see:->How We Lose Heat to the Environment

Symptoms:
Symptoms take effect in three stages.

Normal body temperature in humans is 37°C.

The first stage – mild hypothermia – is characterised by:

* Bouts of shivering;
* Grogginess and muddled thinking.

In stage 1, body temperature drops by 1-2°C below normal temperature (35-38°C). Mild to strong shivering occurs.The victim is unable to perform complex tasks with the hands; the hands become numb. Blood vessels in the outer extremities constrict, lessening heat loss to the outside air. Breathing becomes quick and shallow. Goose bumps form, raising body hair on end in an attempt to create an insulating layer of air around the body (which is of limited use in humans due to lack of sufficient hair, but useful in other species). Often, a person will experience a warm sensation, as if they have recovered, but they are in fact heading into Stage 2. Another test to see if the person is entering stage 2 is if they are unable to touch their thumb with their little finger; this is the first stage of muscles not working.

Indicators of moderate hypothermia are:

* Violent shivering or shivering which suddenly stops;
* Inability to think and pay attention;
* Slow, shallow breathing;
* Slow, weak pulse.

In stage 2, body temperature drops by 2-4°C. Shivering becomes more violent. Muscle mis-coordination becomes apparent. Movements are slow and labored, accompanied by a stumbling pace and mild confusion, although the victim may appear alert. Surface blood vessels contract further as the body focuses its remaining resources on keeping the vital organs warm. The victim becomes pale. Lips, ears, fingers and toes may become blue.

Severe hypothermia has set in when:

* Shivering stops;
* The patient loses consciousness;
* There is little or no breathing;
* Pulse is weak, irregular or non-existent.

In stage 3, body temperature drops below approximately 32 °C (89.6 °F). Shivering usually stops.[1][2] Difficulty speaking, sluggish thinking, and amnesia starts to appear; inability to use hands and stumbling is also usually present. Cellular metabolic processes shut down. Below 30 °C (86.0 °F), the exposed skin becomes blue and puffy, muscle coordination becomes very poor, walking becomes almost impossible, and the victim exhibits incoherent/irrational behavior including terminal burrowing or even a stupor. Pulse and respiration rates decrease significantly but fast heart rates (ventricular tachycardia, atrial fibrillation) can occur. Major organs fail. Clinical death occurs. Because of decreased cellular activity in stage 3 hypothermia, the body will actually take longer to undergo brain death.

Immersion Hypothermia
Hypothermia of both the extremities and body core continues to be a major limitation to diving in cold water. Cooling in the extremities is often the limitation to operations. The fingers decrease dexterity due to pain or numbness, safety, work capacity, and increase the risk of developing nonfreezing cold injury.

In divers breathing heliox below 100 meters wearing hot water suits, the inspired gas must be heated or the symptoms of hypothermia can set in without the divers realizing it.

Other predisposing factors leading to immersion hypothermia include dehydration, inadequate rewarming with repetitive operations, starting operations while cold, wet dry suit undergarments, sweating with work, inadequate thermal insulation (ex. thin dry suit undergarment), lack of heated breathing gas with deep heliox diving, and poor physical conditioning.

Risk factors:
Being in extreme cold, wearing wet clothes — especially in the presence of wind — and being in cold water can all play a part in increasing your chances of hypothermia. In addition, other factors make you more vulnerable:

* Advanced age. People age 65 and older are especially vulnerable because they may have other illnesses or take medications that can interfere with the body’s ability to regulate temperature.
* Very young age. Children usually lose heat faster than adults do. Children have a larger head-to-body ratio than adults do, making them more prone to heat loss through the head. Children may also ignore the cold because they’re having too much fun to think about it. And they may not have the judgment to dress properly in cold weather or to get out of the cold when they feel cold. Infants may have a special problem with the cold because they have less efficient mechanisms for generating heat.
* Mental impairment. People with Alzheimer’s disease or another illness that causes mental impairment may not be aware of the risks of being out in the cold. Wandering is not uncommon among people with Alzheimer’s, and some affected people may stray away from home and be unable to find their way back on their own. Being stranded leaves them vulnerable to the weather.
* Alcohol and drug use. Alcohol may make your body feel warm inside, but it lowers your body’s ability to retain heat. Both alcohol and drugs such as marijuana can keep your blood vessels dilated, restrict your shivering response, impair your judgment and alter your awareness of weather conditions.
* Certain medical conditions. Some health disorders affect your body’s ability to respond to cold or to produce heat. Examples include untreated underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), stroke, severe arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, trauma, spinal cord injuries, burns, blood vessel or nerve disorders that affect sensation in your extremities (for example, peripheral neuropathy in people with diabetes), dehydration and any condition that limits activity or restrains the normal flow of blood. Older adults are more likely to have one or more of these risk factors.
* Water conditions. Factors contributing to your risk of hypothermia in cold water include the temperature of the water and the length of time you spend in it. Rescue time is crucial when a person accidentally falls into cold water. Chances of survival are affected by how cold the water is: The colder the water, the less the chance of survival.

Treatment:
The first step is to contact the emergency services as extreme hypothermia requires urgent professional attention.

All cold, wet clothing should be replaced with warm, dry clothing to prevent further heat loss immediately.

If breathing has stopped or there is no pulse, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be attempted until the emergency services arrive.

Rapid rewarming with hot water or massaging cold extremities should be avoided as, if done improperly, it could lead to serious tissue damage.

Do not give alcohol or nicotine products to someone suffering from hypothermia.

Complications:
Complications depend on how low your body temperature falls. If you’re in water, you may lose consciousness and drown before your temperature drops low enough to cause death by hypothermia. Other complications of hypothermia may include:

* Frostbite
* Loss of limbs
* Coma

The lower your core body temperature, the greater your chance of complications and permanent damage.

 

First aid to Hypothermia patient…...click & see

.Prevention:
The key rules are to wear many layers of clothing, drink plenty of fluids and hot drinks (but not alcohol) and keep well nourished.

Wearing cotton in cool weather is a particular hypothermia risk as it retains water, and water rapidly conducts heat away from the body. Even in dry weather, cotton clothing can become damp from perspiration, and chilly after the wearer stops exercising. Synthetic and wool fabrics provide far better insulation when wet and are quicker to dry. Some synthetic fabrics are designed to wick perspiration away from the body. In air, most heat (20 to 40 percent) is lost through the head; covering the head and neck is quite important in reducing the likelihood of hypothermia.

Heat loss on land is very difficult to predict due to multiple variables such as clothing type and quantity, amount of insulating fat on the victim, environmental humidity or personal dampness such as after exertion, the circumstances surrounding the hypothermic episode and etc. Heat is lost much faster in water, hence the need for wetsuits or drysuits in cold-weather activities such as kayaking. Water temperatures that would be quite reasonable as outdoor air temperatures can lead to hypothermia very quickly. For example, a water temperature of 10 degrees Celsius (50 F) can be expected to lead to death in approximately 1 hour, and water temperatures hovering at freezing can lead to death in as little as 15 minutes. But in water, even a temperature as high as 80 degrees Fahrenheit may eventually lead to hypothermia.

Alcohol consumption prior to cold exposure may increase one’s risk of becoming hypothermic. Alcohol acts as a vasodilator, increasing blood flow to the body’s extremities, thereby increasing heat loss. Ironically, this may cause the victim to feel warm while he or she is rapidly losing heat to the surrounding environment.

The United States Coast Guard promotes using life vests as a method of prevention against hypothermia through the 50/50/50 rule: if someone is in 50-degree water for 50 minutes they have a 50 percent better chance of survival if they are wearing a life jacket

Maintaining movement to keep circulation up is also advised.

Age Concern advises keeping at least one room well-heated during the winter months.

Is help available?
Age Concern runs a Be a Good Neighbour scheme during winter.

The scheme calls on people to be aware of elderly people living nearby and to help out with routine tasks.

Dr Simon Fradd, of the Doctor Patient Partnership, said: “Helping collect prescriptions, getting prescriptions or just making time for a chat are a few simple ways we can help.”

More details can be obtained from Age Concern’s freephone line on 0800 00 99 66.
Benefits
There is considerable evidence that children who suffer near-drowning accidents in water near 0°C (273 K) can be revived over an hour after losing consciousness. The cold water considerably lowers metabolism, allowing the brain to withstand a much longer period of hypoxia.

Medically induced
Induced hypothermia (also known as therapeutic hypothermia) is the intentional induction of hypothermia for medical purposes. Such practice has been shown to reduce brain damage in infants and increase survivability in certain cases of cardiac arrest. The method also has applications in cardiac surgery and stroke recovery.
Hypothermia being induced by using water circulated through heat-conducting pads

.
Hypothermia may be a consequence of anesthetic induction drugs and occurs to some extent every time an anesthetic is given. Anesthetic drugs produce two different effects that lead to hypothermia during surgery: they increase the width of blood vessels, vasodilation, allowing blood to flow easily from the body’s inner organs or core to the periphery or skin. This allows heat to be easily lost or radiated from the body. The temperature control center situated in the hypothalamus is also affected by drugs causing the normal temperature control limits to be increased, compromising the body’s normal cold response system.

Paradoxical undressing
20% to 50% of hypothermal deaths are associated with a phenomenon known as paradoxical undressing. This typically occurs during moderate to severe hypothermia as the victim becomes disoriented, confused, and combative. The hypothermic victim may begin discarding the clothing he or she has been wearing, which in turn increases the rate of temperature loss. There have been several published case studies of victims throwing off their clothes before help reached them.

Rescuers who are trained in mountain survival techniques have been taught to expect this effect. However, the phenomenon still regularly leads police to assume incorrectly that urban victims of hypothermia have been subjected to a sexual assault.[citation needed]

One explanation for the effect is a cold-induced malfunction of the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates body temperature. Another explanation is that the muscles contracting peripheral blood vessels become exhausted (known as a loss of vasomoter tone) and relax, leading to a sudden surge of blood (and heat) to the extremities, fooling the victim into feeling warm.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/medical_notes/276284.stm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothermia
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothermia/

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Hot Summer Risks

While most enjoy the summer sun, high temperatures can pose a signficant risk to health.

For people who spend a lot of time outdoors during the hot summer months either for play or work, here are a few tips to keep a cool head.

Heat illness –– the body’s inability to deal with heat and cool itself — can be deadly. Employers with workers who spend much of their day outside or individuals who participate in outdoor activities need to pay close attention to avoid health risks.

There are some symptoms to look for and preventative measures that individuals and employers can take to reduce the chances of heat illness.

Dehydration:…..CLICK & SEE
One of the biggest dangers of a heat wave is the increased risk of dehydration.
This is the loss of water from the body, and with it important blood salts like potassium and sodium which play a vital role in the function of organs such as the kidneys, brain and heart.
It can lead to confusion, lethargy and problems with breathing and heart rate.

Heat stroke or exhaustion:....CLICK & SEE
Under normal circumstances the sweat we produce when we get hot keeps us cool when it evaporates from the surface of our skin.
However, on extremely hot days, or when we over-exert ourselves, this system can fail, and body temperature can start to climb to dangerous levels.
This leads to heat stroke or exhaustion. This can cause headaches, dizziness and muscle cramps, but it can also be life-threatening.
It is particularly dangerous because symptoms can come on very rapidly, and – unless you are watching for the signs – very little warning.

Heat stroke is by far the most serious heat illness as the body stops sweating and the individual can become delirious, lose consciousness, and convulse. The body temperature typically reaches 106 degrees F or higher and the skin becomes hot and dry. It may also be red or bluish in color. Victims will die if not treated promptly.

Heat exhaustion results when the individual loses too much fluid through sweating. This is why drinking plenty of water and taking salt tablets is vital. The victim will typically experience weakness, giddiness, nausea, and/or headache. The skin will be clammy, the complexion pale and the body temperature may be slightly above normal.

Sunburn:…...CLICK & SEE
A sun tan may look nice, but it is actually a sign of damage to the skin.
Not only is sunburn painful, it can accelerate the ageing process, and increase the risk of skin cancer, including the potentially fatal form, melanoma.

Heat cramps:……...CLICK & SEE

Heat cramps are painful spasms caused by drinking large quantities of water without replacing lost salt.

Heat rash may occur when sweat doesn’t evaporate as in hot, humid environments. This is often known as prickly heat and is commonly seen in babies or small children.

Those at greatest risk are infants and children up to the age of 4, along with adults over the age of 65, those who are overweight, and people taking certain medications.

Avoiding strenuous exercise in hot weather will go a long way in preventing heat illness. When going outside, be sure to wear appropriate lightweight clothing along with a hat and sunglasses. If a problem does occur, remember to:

Recognize the problem. It is important that everyone be able to recognize the signs of heat illness within themselves and others. To lessen the likelihood of encountering issues, acclimate to the environment slowly, allowing the body to become accustomed to the heat.

Get prompt medical attention. Immediately get into shade and cool the body as quickly as possible while waiting for emergency help to arrive.

Drink lots of liquids:..
As you will be losing more fluid than normal, it is important to top up your supplies.

The best way to keep yourself hydrated is to drink water, and to sip it, rather than gulp it down.

On an average day, a person weighing 58kg (128lb) should drink eight average-sized glasses of water.

As a general rule, for every 2lbs (0.9kg) of body weight, you need one fluid ounce (28.4ml) of water.

In very hot weather, consumption should be increased. However, drinking excessive amounts can bring problems of its own.

You might think a cold beer is exactly what the doctor ordered, but in fact, alcohol dehydrates the body, and consumption should be kept to a minimum.

If you can’t face drinking lots of water, non-carbonated soft drinks, such as fruit juice, are a reasonable alternative

Don’t wait to be thirsty, drink at least one quart of liquid per hour.

Get shade and rest breaks. Be sure to have easily accessible shade and take frequent rests in order to maintain a normal body temperature.

Develop policies and procedures. For employers it is important to develop and implement written safety policies and procedures which include heat training. Educate managers and supervisors on heat illness prevention to protect workers.

Modify your diet:

Avoid hot, heavy food.

Salt pills are available to replace minerals lost in the sweat. However, most diets contain more than enough salt, and so this is unlikely to be necessary.

Stay out of the sun:

The best place to be on a blistering day is in the shade.

If you must sunbathe, then ensure that it is for short periods, and that you use sunscreen with a protection factor of at least 15.

If you start to feel queasy or ill then get out of direct sunlight as quickly as possible.

The sun is at its most dangerous between 11am and 3pm.

Be sensible about exercise:

Do not exercise vigorously during the hottest times of the day. Instead, run, jog or exercise closer to sunrise or sunset.

Take things slowly and adapt to the pace of life in the sun. If you feel breathless or your heart is pounding, stop what you are doing and try to cool your body down, for example, by taking a cool shower. Rest if you feel faint or dizzy.

Keep cool:

Wear light, loose-fitting clothing, such as cotton, so sweat can evaporate.

Dark, heavy clothes absorb heat, but remember that some thin materials do not provide a sufficient barrier to the sun’s dangerous UV rays.

It is also a good idea to wear a wide-brimmed sunhat, preferably with vents.

Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Ventilate your home:

Keep windows open all day and all night and use fans.

This is particularly important at night, when the body cools down.

Avoid heat traps:

Try to avoid anywhere where shelter is minimal, and ventilation poor. Parked cars can be a particular hazard.

If you can, try to stay in an air-conditioned environment.

If you have no alternative, but to travel in a hot, stuffy environment – for instance on the Tube – then make sure you carry a bottle of water with you.

If you face a long journey, it may be wise to plan breaks to go above ground for some fresh air.

Take special care of the vulnerable:

Those most at risk from the sun include children under four, people over 65 whose bodies adapt more slowly to the change in temperature, overweight people whose bodies tend to retain heat more and people who are ill.

Babies are particularly vulnerable to heat as their sweat glands are not well-developed.

It is important not to wrap them up in blankets or heavy clothing when it is hot – but it is equally important to ensure that they are not exposed to direct sunlight.

Resources:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/medical_notes/5190094.stm
http://first-aid.suite101.com/article.cfm/hot_summer_temps_and_health_risks .