Hypothermia is when your core body temperature is below 95°F. It happens when the body loses heat faster than it can replace it. The elderly and babies are at the highest risk. As body temperature falls, the brain, heart, and other internal organs stop functioning normally. Hypothermia can be fatal very quickly and is a medical emergency.
Use InQuicker, the Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican online waiting service, to select your estimated arrival time at the emergency room for hypothermia in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.
What Causes Hypothermia in Las Vegas, NV?
Hypothermia is caused by the body losing heat in four ways:
- Convection is when moving air draws heat away from your body. Wind chill is a form of convection and increases the risk of hypothermia.
- Conduction is the transfer of body heat to matter. For example, laying on the ground causes heat loss to the earth. Water conducts heat 25 times faster than air. Hypothermia can occur even when only one part of your body is wet.
- Radiation is heat loss to the environment when the air temperature is cooler than your body. The more exposed skin and greater the temperature difference, the faster the body cools. This means hypothermia can occur in cool temperatures.
- Evaporation is heat loss through sweating. Your body normally cools itself by evaporation of sweat. Sweating in a cool or cold environment speeds up heat loss. It can also cause dehydration, which promotes hypothermia.
Most cases of accidental hypothermia are caused by convection or conduction.
Hypothermia occurs gradually. Often, people don’t even realize it. Signs and symptoms include:
- Slurred speech
- Memory loss
In severe hypothermia, shivering stops and the person may actually start feeling too warm. This can lead to the irrational behaviors, such as removing clothing. Eventually, loss of consciousness and death will occur.
Hypothermia Treatment & Prevention
Some tips for preventing hypothermia include:
- Wearing layers and choosing the right clothing for your environment. Cotton can quickly lead to hypothermia when it gets wet. Wool clothing with an inner wicking layer is the safest choice.
- Avoid overexertion, which can lead to wet clothing from sweating.
- Change wet clothing, including mittens and socks as soon as possible if they become wet.
- Cover your skin, including your hands and head.
If you or someone you are with has signs of hypothermia:
- Remove wet clothing.
- Get the person to a warm shelter or indoors.
- Examine the person for other injuries. Provide appropriate first aid.
- Give conscious people warm liquids that do not contain caffeine or alcohol.
- Cover them with an electric blanket, regular blanket, or whatever is available. Skin-to-skin contact with a warm body may help if you do not have blankets.
- Seek medical care as soon as possible.
Dignity Health - St. Rose Dominican offers emergency services for hypothermia in Las Vegas and Henderson, NV.