Your body needs to stay above 95 degrees Fahrenheit for your brain, heart, and other essential organs to function. When your body loses heat faster than it produces it, hypothermia sets in and your body works extra hard to function properly.
A low body temperature is a medical emergency that requires prompt care. Trust a skilled team of emergency services experts at Dignity Health to quickly treat hypothermia in Southern California.
For cases of hypothermia that aren’t life threatening, use InQuicker to select an estimated arrival time in Long Beach, Northridge, Downtown LA, Glendale, and Inland Empire cities San Bernardino, Fontana, and Highland while you wait at home. Our triage staff will promptly assess your symptoms of hypothermia to get you the personalized treatment you need.
Causes of Hypothermia
Hypothermia is often accidental and can occur after staying in cold weather too long or being immersed in cold water. Small children and the elderly can be at risk for hypothermia in cold indoor environments, such as apartments with poor heating.
Your body can rapidly lose heat in four ways:
- Conduction, or transferring body heat to a surface, such as the ground or wet clothes. Water conducts heat faster than air, and hypothermia often sets in after wearing cold, wet clothes for too long.
- Convection, or wind chill which draws heat away from your body
- Radiation, or losing body heat to cold air temperature
- Evaporation, through sweating which intensifies heat loss
First Aid & Preventing Hypothermia
Hypothermia happens gradually. Often, people do not realize their body temperature is dangerously low.
To stay safe in cold or wet environments:
- Cover all of your skin, especially your head and hands.
- Wear layers.
- Change wet clothes, socks, and mittens immediately.
- Avoid overexertion, which promotes sweating and wet clothing.
To prevent hypothermia from advancing, seek medical help quickly and follow these first aid tips:
- Get to a warm environment.
- Immediately remove wet clothing.
- Cover yourself or the injured person with a blanket. Skin-to-skin contact can also warm up your body.
- Drink warm liquids without caffeine or alcohol.
The emergency departments at Dignity Health treat mild to severe cases of hypothermia in Southern California.