SAFAKNA TURKEY – Since the magnitude 7.7 earthquake that hit Kahramanmaras, efforts have been made to prevent earthquake victims from becoming even more victims in this cold and stormy weather. After the earthquake that affected 10 provinces, another situation that the survivors of the earthquake had to contend with was adverse weather conditions. Investigations are ongoing on the hypothermia of many citizens left on the streets after the devastation in the week that a storm warning was issued and temperatures dropped significantly. So what is hypothermia? How to identify hypothermia, what are the symptoms? What to do with hypothermia? Here are the details…
Hypothermia Disease: Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when the human body loses the heat it needs to function faster than it produces, resulting in a dangerous drop in body temperature. Normal body temperature is about 37 C.
WHAT IS HYPOTHERMIA?
Hypothermia occurs when an adult’s body temperature of about 37 degrees Celsius falls below 35 degrees Celsius. Hypothermia occurs when the body loses more heat than it can produce over a long period of time. This condition usually occurs in those who spend long periods of time in cold, windy weather, in cold water, or in cold homes. However, even rain and sweat can cause an unusual drop in body temperature if the body is not protected by suitable clothing. Severe hypothermia is an important and urgent life-threatening situation because it can cause life-threatening conditions by causing the person’s vital organs to fail.
What is mild hypothermia?
In the range of the central body temperature of 35-32°C, severe chills, increased blood pressure, rapid breathing and rapid heartbeat are noted. The veins constrict to draw blood to the center. The body begins to burn stored glucose for energy production. Confusion sets in.
Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition and requires prompt treatment. This is usually caused by cold environments.
These; It is caused by such reasons as being outside for a long time in cold conditions, living in an insufficiently heated house, getting into cold water.
Hypothermia is not a disease and its symptoms depend on heat. Hypothermia occurs when the human body loses the heat it needs to function faster than it produces. This is classified as a medical emergency. The heart, nervous system and organs of a person whose body temperature drops cannot continue their normal activities. Hypothermia, which cannot be cured in time, can lead to a deterioration in the condition of the heart, circulatory and respiratory systems and, ultimately, to death.
Hypothermia Treatment: Therapeutic hypothermia, on the other hand, is a form of treatment given to a person who is brought back to life with cardiac massage after cardiac arrest to prevent brain damage. With this form of treatment, the patient’s body temperature drops to 32-34 degrees in the first 4-6 hours and remains constant at this temperature for an average of 18 hours.
Treatment of hypothermia is urgent: in cases where the body temperature is below 30 degrees, the introduction of drugs should not be carried out, defibrillation should be limited to 3 discharges. At a body temperature of 30-35 degrees, defibrillation can be used as needed, drugs should be administered in small doses or the interval between applications should be observed (2 times).
WHAT CAUSES HYPOTHERMIA?
Hypothermia occurs when heat is lost faster than it is generated. Weather conditions are one of the biggest effects of hypothermia. Insufficiently protected body surfaces can lose heat.
Conditions such as physical fatigue reduce people’s tolerance for cold. At the same time, alcohol can make people feel warm, but the blood vessels dilate, resulting in faster heat loss from the skin. In these cases, hypothermia may occur. At the same time, the elderly and children are more likely to experience hypothermia due to their resistance. In other words, the biggest risk group is the elderly, the sick, the homeless, and climbers.
Some of the factors that cause an unusual decrease in body temperature can be listed as follows:
Lack of clothing or low outside temperature
Insufficient movement in cold weather
Long stay in water, even in hot weather.
fall into cold water
Particularly in infants and young children: wet or damp clothing.
extensive burns on the body
Accident in snowy weather
Conditions that increase the risk of hypothermia:
Not enough feeding
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHERMIA?
– chills (shivering may decrease or stop completely with a decrease in body temperature)
– cold hands and feet
– Pale skin color
– slurred speech or mumbling
– Slow or shallow (shallow) breathing
– Weak heart rate
– Clumsiness or lack of coordination
– lethargy or lack of energy
– Drowsiness or memory loss
– This may be indicated as loss of consciousness or mild confusion.
– Bright red, cold skin (in infants)
– hoarseness in voice
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Mild symptoms of hypothermia
Mild: at a body temperature of 35-32 ° C, there is severe trembling, increased blood pressure, rapid breathing and rapid heartbeat. The veins constrict to draw blood to the center. The body begins to burn stored glucose for energy, and confusion sets in.
Moderate: when the central body temperature drops to 32-29 degrees, tremor stops, amnesia sets in, and reflexes slow down. A person with hypothermia has strange movements and illogical speech. Motor skills are lost.
Severe: when the core body temperature drops below 28 degrees, all physiological systems slow down. Heart rate and breathing begin to decrease, and blood pressure decreases. A person suffering from hypothermia begins to hallucinate and undress, even if he is freezing. His reflexes are completely lost, his pupils dilate, and he passes out.
* If the temperature drops further, it may give the impression of death until people warm up. When the body temperature reaches 32 degrees, if a person still does not show signs of vitality, he is considered dead.
Paradoxical undressing: Approximately 20-50% of cases of moderate to severe hypothermia show undressing. Because the person suffering from hypothermia is confused, he feels that he is warming up and, as a result, wants to partially or completely undress.
PATHOPHYSIOLOGICAL EXPLANATION OF HYPOTHERMIA
Heat is generated in the muscle tissue and liver, including the heart. Lost through the skin (90%) and lungs (10%). Heat production can be increased two to four times, although it varies from person to person through muscle contractions. The rate of heat loss is determined by convection, conduction and radiation, as in other objects. (haberturk)
HOW TO DIAGNOSIS HYPOTHERMIA?
To diagnose hypothermia, a person’s physical symptoms are usually monitored. A blood test may be required to diagnose it and determine its severity. Confusion, lack of coordination, speech problems, and other mild symptoms may not always give you confidence.
HOW IS FIRST AID FOR HYPOTHERMIA?
– Before treating a patient/injured with hypothermia, make sure you are adequately protected from the cold.
– If possible, move the casualty/injured person to a warmer covered area and avoid contact with cold.
– If this is not possible, protect the sick/injured person from the wind, especially the head and neck area. Avoid contact with cold ground.
– Carefully remove wet clothing. Replace wet clothes with warm, dry coats, coats, jackets, or blankets.
– If additional heating is required, do so slowly. For example; Apply warm-dry compresses to the middle parts of the body, especially the neck, chest, and groin area.
– Slowly sip warm, sugary and non-alcoholic drinks to the casualty/injured person, although this is an important exception to the general principles of first aid.
– Do not use direct heat. Warm the patient slowly using a warming lamp or hot bath.
– Do not attempt to warm up limbs such as arms and legs. Warming or massaging the extremities can put extra strain on the heart and lungs.
– Never allow the patient/injured person to smoke.
– The victim should be gently warmed with a hot towel from the central areas of the body, such as the chest, neck, groin and crown.
– If the patient is conscious, it is good to drink hot, sweet and non-alcoholic drinks.
– It is very important not to leave the patient until the ambulance arrives and to check his breathing, circulation and consciousness frequently.
WHAT SHOULD I CONSIDER WHEN RENDERING FIRST AID?
* Rapid warming of the patient with a hot bath or the like should be avoided.
* Never use direct heat sources such as electric blankets or hot water.
* Hands and feet should not be massaged or heated, as cold blood can cause disturbances in the heart and circulatory system.
* The patient should not drink alcohol or cigarettes, as they cause varicose veins and increase heat loss.
HOW TO PREVENT HYPOTHERMIA?
Synthetic-woolen fabrics should be preferred, which will give warmth suitable for the weather and provide better thermal insulation than cotton. Loose clothing relaxes circulation and keeps you warm. The head must also be covered. Any situation that will show heat loss should be avoided. Any situation that would require excessive effort should be avoided. Excessive effort causes sweating and heat loss.
WHAT TO DO AGAINST HYPOTHERMIA?
If you feel the onset of hypothermia, try to keep the victim warm until medical help arrives. If possible, wet clothing should be removed, especially the head-neck-thoracic and groin area should be wrapped with a blanket. People with hypothermia should not be given hot drinks. Do not take hot baths and do not give alcoholic beverages.
It is necessary to control areas that change color on the skin and cause differences in tissues due to the frostbite situation. People in this situation should be immediately taken to a warm room. These areas are not massaged or rubbed.
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