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The Dangers of Hypothermia and Frostbite

| January 2, 2014


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With record threatening temperatures expected Thursday, it doesn’t take long for a person to develop hypothermia or frostbite. So what exactly is hypothermia? Doctor Kirsanov explains.

“It is the decrease of the body temperature, depending on the stage of the hypothermia with dramatic and detrimental consequences for the human body.”

Hypothermia is simply caused by being outside in the cold without enough protective clothing. It can also be caused by wearing wet clothing in windy or cold conditions. Once your body starts to cool down, many other body processes will be affected.

“Be confused in a coma, then heart is going down with a slow rate, blood pressure is dropping, and all body processes hibernate to the point of death,” says Kirsanov.

You may also experience the loss of coordination, have uncontrolled shivering and have pale or cold skin. Another consequence of being out in the cold without protective clothing is frost bite. Frostbite is damage to the skin and tissue caused by extreme cold.

“You can start feeling that your fingers and arms are cold, then sort of numbness comes next because your nerves lose sensitivity,” says Kirsanov.

You may also feel pain once you warm yourself, but sometimes it may be too late and you lose all feeling. Dr. Kirsanov says to avoid hypothermia and frostbite, where gloves, boots, and anything else to keep your body warm. If you feel like you are getting too cold, get to a warm place. He would also like to remind everyone not to drink alcohol and go outside, because this will increase the chances for hypothermia since your body is already losing a lot of heat due to the alcohol.


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