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To increase body temperature in case of hypothermia, it is recommended:
- Take the person to a warm place and protected from the cold;
- Remove wet clothes if necessary;
- Put blankets over the person and keep the neck and head well covered;
- Place hot water bottles on the blanket or other devices that help increase body temperature;
- Offering a hot drink, avoiding coffee or an alcoholic beverage, as they increase heat loss.
During this process, and if possible, you should try to keep your body temperature monitored using a thermometer. This makes it easier to assess whether the temperature is increasing or not. If the temperature goes below 33º, medical help should be called immediately.
If the person has lost consciousness, he should be placed on his side and covered, avoiding, in these cases, giving liquids or putting anything else in his mouth, as it can cause suffocation. In addition, it is important to pay attention to the person, because if they stop breathing it is important, in addition to calling for medical help, to start cardiac massage to keep blood circulating in the body. See the step-by-step guide to massage correctly.
Hypothermia corresponds to the decrease in body temperature, which is below 35 ºC and which can happen when one remains without adequate equipment in severe winter or after accidents in freezing water, for example. In these cases, body heat can quickly escape through the skin, leading to hypothermia. Learn more about hypothermia.
What not to do
In cases of hypothermia, it is not recommended to apply heat directly, such as hot water or heat lamp, for example, as they can cause burns.In addition, if the victim is unconscious or unable to swallow, it is not advisable to give drinks, as it may cause choking and vomiting.
It is also contraindicated to give alcoholic beverages to the victim as well as coffee, as they can alter blood circulation, also interfering with the body warming process.
How hypothermia affects the body
When the body is exposed to very low temperatures, it initiates processes that try to increase the temperature and correct the heat loss. It is for this reason that one of the first signs of cold is the appearance of shivering. These tremors are involuntary movements of the body's muscles that try to produce energy and heat.
Furthermore, the brain also causes vasoconstriction, which causes the body's vessels to narrow, especially in the extremities such as the hands or feet, preventing too much heat from being wasted.
Finally, in the most severe cases of hypothermia, the body slows down the activity of the brain, heart and liver to try to reduce the heat loss that occurs with the functioning of these organs.