Hypothermia

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Hypothermia is a condition in which core temperature drops below that required for normal metabolism and body functions which is defined as 35.0 °C (95.0 °F). Body temperature is usually maintained near a constant level of 36.5–37.5 °C (98–100 °F) through biologic homeostasis or thermoregulation. If exposed to cold and the internal mechanisms are unable to replenish the heat that is being lost, a drop in core temperature occurs. As body temperature decreases, characteristic symptoms occur such as shivering and mental confusion.

Hypothermia is the opposite of hyperthermia which is present in heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Contents

Classification

Normal human body temperature in adults is 34.4–37.8 °C (94–100 °F).[7] Sometimes a narrower range is stated, such as 36.5–37.5 °C (98–100 °F).[8] Hypothermia is defined as any body temperature below 35.0 °C (95.0 °F). It is subdivided into four different degrees, mild 32–35 °C (90–95 °F); moderate, 28–32 °C (82–90 °F); severe, 20–28 °C (68–82 °F); and profound at less than 20 °C (68 °F).[9] This is in contrast to hyperthermia and fever which are defined as a rectal temperature of greater than 37.8 °C (100.0 °F).[4]

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