Have you ever developed body temperature below 95 degrees coupled with symptoms of shivering, confusion, reduced control of body movements, or weak pulse? If your answer is yes, you might be exposed to a condition called hypothermia. Hypothermia is caused by exposure to extremely cold temperatures for a lengthy period. When the body becomes exposed to freezing temperatures, it tends to lose heat quicker than it generates.The signs and symptoms of hypothermia include:
- Cold feet and hands
- Slurred speech or mumbling
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Weak pulse
- Clumsiness or lack of coordination
- Drowsiness or very low energy
- Confusion or memory loss
- Weak pulse
- Stiffness in arms and legs
Here are a few tips to help elderly adults to avoid hypothermia:
- Wear a hat and gloves. When going outside, you will become exposed to the cold weather conditions. Therefore, it is important to bundle up by wearing garments such as gloves, mittens, scarfs, hats, layers of clothes that fit loosely, coats, or jackets. This safeguards your body temperature and prevents you from losing body heat primarily through your hands and head. It is critical that you wear a hat and gloves, particularly because body heat can be lost faster through the head and hands at more significant portions. The other clothing garments are important and work alongside gloves and hats to ensure warm air remains trapped.
- Keep your home warm. Though most cold temperatures that cause the onset of hypothermia are experienced outdoors, it can also happen within the home. Therefore, it is vital that while indoors, it is kept warm for elderly persons. It is highly advised as an extra safety tip where possible to keep temperatures within the home at 68 degrees (F). Another great way to ensure you keep warm within your home is by being adequately clothed during the colder months. Older people should practice wearing socks, utilizing blankets, and wearing head covering of choice even while at home.
- Check with your Doctor. Keeping in touch with your doctor will ensure you stay abreast of all the over-the-counter drugs or prescribed medications that can increase your risk of experiencing hypothermia. Upon learning this, extra measures should be enforced to ensure the above steps are followed to prevent hypothermia during the winter months.
It is imperative that elderly persons protect themselves from developing hypothermia. Be alert so that you can identify early symptoms such as pale skin, cold hands, and feet, swollen face, shivers, sleepiness, anger, confusion, or slower speech. Prevention is always best, so keep your body warm with proper clothing at all times when exposed to cold temperatures to safeguard yourself from hypothermia.Contact the aging care professionals at Effraim Home Care to learn more hypothermia today. Our home and respite care in Horsham and the nearby areas is available to help seniors live their healthy and safe lives. Contact us at (215) 826-7422 to arrange for a free in-home consultation today!