Hypothermia and Frostbite could be much more dangerous than you realise

Hypothermia and frostbite both are caused by extreme exposure to cold temperature, wind. Hypothermia affects the whole body while frostbite affects the particular parts of a body.  Before going outside in winters, dress appropriately and avoid staying in the cold too long. You should get out of the cold immediately if the signals of hypothermia or frostbite appear.


Hypothermia occurs when there is an unintentional drop in the body’s temperature below 35 degree C (95 degree F). At this temperature, many of the compensatory physiologic mechanisms that conserve heat begin to fail.

Although most cases occur in the winter months and in colder climates, this condition is surprisingly common in warmer regions as well. Some people can get this more than others.

  • Extremes of age-  Both the elderly and neonates are vulnerable to hypothermia. The old people have diminished thermal perception and are more susceptible to immobility, malnutrition, and systemic illnesses that interfere with heat generation. Neonates have high rates of heat loss because of their increased surface-to-mass ratio and their lack of effective shivering and adaptive behavioural responses.
  • Individuals whose occupations or hobbies entail extensive exposure to cold weather are at increased risk for hypothermia. Military history’s replete with hypothermic tragedies. Hunters,sailors, skiers, and climbers also are at great risk of exposure, whether it involves injury, changes in weather, or lack of preparedness.
  • Adrenal insufficiency and hypopituitarism also increase susceptibility to hypothermia.

What are the signs of hypothermia?

Severe shivering, one of the first signs of hypothermia, is beneficial in keeping the body warm. But as hypothermia progresses, shivering gives way to drowsiness or exhaustion, confusion, shallow breathing, irregular heartbeat, slurred speech, loss of coordination and, eventually, unconsciousness and even death.


Frostbite occurs when the tissue temperature drops below O degree C (32 degree F). Ice-crystal formation subsequently distorts and destroys the cellular architecture. It’s the most common injury resulting from exposure to severe cold, and it usually occurs on fingers, toes, nose, ears, cheeks and chin. Factors that are responsible for frostbite are given below. 

  • Tissue freezes quickly when in contact with thermal conductor such as metal and volatile solutions.
  • People have diabetes.
  • Wearing constrictive clothing or boots, immobility,  and vasoconstrictive medications. 
  • Both infants and elderly.
  • Have been drinking, smoking or doing any drugs.

What are the signs of frostbite?

Lack of feeling in the affected area. Skin that appears waxy, is cold to the touch, or is discolored (flushed, white or gray, yellow or blue).

How can you prevent hypothermia and frostbite?

prevent yourself from winter
  • Wear socks and mittens to keep your foot and hands warm
  • Always cover your ear by a scarf or hat or cap
  • Drink plenty of warm fluids or warm water but avoid caffeine and alcohol.
  • Bundle up in several layers of loose clothing

Both hypothermia and frost bite are the medical emergencies. whenever you feel like you or anybody else is facing these symptoms. Call the doctor urgently.

Hypothermia and frostbite are not only conditions that are caused by winters. To know more winter disease. Click here. 


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