First Aid Responder Level 3 (VTQ)

213 videos, 11 hours and 50 minutes

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Hypothermia and its Causes

Video 75 of 213
1 min 38 sec
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Hypothermia: The Silent Cold Threat

Hypothermia is a potentially deadly condition characterised by a significant drop in body temperature. Awareness of its causes and early signs is pivotal for timely intervention.

What is Hypothermia?

Hypothermia arises when the body loses heat more quickly than it can produce it, leading to a body temperature below the norm. While our regular body temperature sits at 37°C, hypothermia is diagnosed once it drops beneath 35°C. As the body's core temperature plummets, vital internal organs are at risk, which, without prompt treatment, can be fatal.

Causes of Hypothermia

Our body loses heat through various mechanisms. Recognising the key contributors can assist in prevention:

  • Convection: Loss of heat when wind or water sweeps over the body.
  • Conduction: Direct contact with surfaces or water cooler than body temperature.
  • Radiation: When surrounding air is colder than the person's body temperature.
  • Evaporation: Loss of heat from sweating or from damp skin and clothes.

Types of Hypothermia

The onset and progression of hypothermia can differ based on various factors, giving rise to distinct types:

  • Acute or Immersion Hypothermia: A rapid heat loss, typically from immersion in cold water.
  • Exhaustion Hypothermia: Occurs when fatigue prevents the body from generating enough heat.
  • Chronic Hypothermia: A gradual heat loss, commonly seen in the elderly living in poorly insulated homes or among the homeless.

Recognising and Responding

Early symptoms of hypothermia can often be subtle. However, with vigilant observation and immediate action, the effects of hypothermia can be reversed, and lives saved.

Learning Outcomes:
  • IPOSi Unit four LO4.1 & 4.2