Hypothermia can occur in 40 degrees F

Jan. 28, 2013 at 9:18 PM

ATLANTA, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Hypothermia is most likely at cold temperatures, but it can occur even at 40 degrees F if chilled from rain, sweat or submersion, U.S. officials say.

Victims of hypothermia are often elderly people with inadequate food, clothing, or heating; babies sleeping in cold bedrooms; or people who remain outdoors for long periods -- the homeless, hikers, hunters, walkers; and people who drink alcohol or use illicit drugs, health officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said the warnings signs of hypothermia in adult are shivering, exhaustion, confusion, fumbling hands, memory loss, slurred speech and drowsiness. In infants the signs are bright red, cold skin, or very low energy.

The CDC said if you notice any of these signs, take the person's temperature. If it is below 95 degrees, the situation is an emergency and get medical attention immediately.

"When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Prolonged exposure to cold will eventually use up your body's stored energy. The result is hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature," the CDC said in a statement.

"Body temperature that is too low affects the brain, making the victim unable to think clearly or move well. This makes hypothermia particularly dangerous because a person may not know it is happening and won't be able to do anything about it."

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