Definition – What does Hypothermia mean?
Hypothermia is excessive cooling of the body’s core temperature. Hypothermia can result in cold conditions where the body is not adequately warmed by clothing and environmental. Hypothermia in the workplace is a potential hazard for staff in cold stores as well as in those that work outdoors. Hypothermia can affect anyone, but its onset is more rapid when in water or damp conditions.
HSSE WORLD Explain Hypothermia
In cold environments the body maintains heat and circulation to the vital organs by decreasing blood flow to the extremities. This leads to a lack of warmth and circulation in the arms and legs leading to decreased mobility, co-ordination, and dexterity. If symptoms are not dealt with, the affected person will become drowsy, and if allowed to sleep, the person can quickly fall into unconsciousness. When trying to re-warm the body, this must be done gradually. Rubbing of skin must be avoided. This gives the body a false sense of warmth, and pushes cold blood to vital organs, such as the heart, which can lead to cardiac arrest.