Hypothermia in children

Hypothermia in children


1 Overview

2 Symptoms of hypothermia in children

3 cases that require medical intervention

4 Causes of low body temperature in children

5 Diagnosis of hypothermia in children

6 treatment of hypothermia in children

7 References


Hypothermia is defined as a medical condition that occurs when the body loses more heat than it produces.

This condition occurs as a result of exposure to cold water or very cold weather.

The body temperature is low at 35 ° C for adults.

As for infants, the World Health Organization stated that an infant’s body temperature is low when it reaches 36.5 degrees Celsius.

It is worth noting that the normal body temperature is 37 ° C,

This is an emergency situation because when it occurs, the heart, nervous system and other parts of the body do not function normally.

Hence, hypothermia constitutes a serious disease.

Especially if the temperature goes below 32 ° C,

Temperature is a measure of the body’s ability to produce and lose heart.

Therefore, the health of the body is good when it maintains the temperature within the normal range even in cases where the temperature changes outside the body,

It is worth noting that when temperatures drop and are constantly exposed to causes of low temperatures, the body responds to that in different ways to maintain its normal temperature,

The body’s automatic defense system works to prevent further heat loss, by:

  • Reducing blood flow to the skin
  • Secretion of certain hormones that help produce heat and shivering or chills
  • The shivering helps to maintain a normal temperature inside the major organs.

Symptoms of hypothermia in children

Symptoms associated with hypothermia depend on the temperature of the environment surrounding the individual and the duration of exposure to it,

Chills are one of the symptoms of hypothermia.

Where severe chills indicate that the body temperature is very low,

While slight, controllable chills indicate that the body temperature is slightly low,

It is worth noting that the symptoms associated with hypothermia in infants differ from those shown in adults.

Where the skin of the infant appears bright red and is very cold,

He also notices a decrease in the rate of his activity and his crying,

As mentioned previously, the symptoms associated with hypothermia differ according to the severity of the temperature.

As there are three stages of hypothermia, we mention them with the accompanying symptoms as follows:

First: Mild hypothermia.

Where the body temperature ranges when suffering from mild hypothermia between 35 ° C and 32.2 ° C, and it is accompanied by many symptoms, such as:

  • Hypertension.
  • Chills
  • High heart rate.
  • Rapid breathing.
  • Vasoconstriction.
  • Fatigue and tiredness.
  • Poor coordination.
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty speaking.
  • Feeling hungry and nauseous.

Second: Moderate hypothermia.

Temperatures within this stage range between 32.2 and 28 degrees Celsius,

And the injured shows many symptoms, including:

  1. Arrhythmias, which are slower than normal.
  2. Breathing difficulty.
  3. Reduction of Blood pressure.
  4. Pupil dilatation.
  5. Decreased level of perception.
  6. Low level of reactions.
  7. Difficulty speaking.
  8. Confusion.
  9. Feeling sleepy.

Third: Severe hypothermia (in English: Severe hypothermia),

The body temperature is less than 28 ° C, and the injured person at that time will have many symptoms and signs, including:

  • Breathing difficulty.
  • Heart failure.
  • Pulmonary edema.
  • heart attack.
  • The constancy of the pupil of the eye, and its lack of response to what is around it.

Cases that require medical intervention

Hypothermia is one of the conditions that require medical intervention,

Especially when a group of symptoms and signs appear on the child, we will mention some of them as follows:

1- Signs of confusion and the inability to think.

2- Chills and shivering but not being able to stop.

3- The appearance of signs indicating that the patient needs more fluids, such as:

A – dry mouth,

B- The eyes appear sunken

C – The presence of small amounts of saliva in the mouth of the infected person

D – Urinate little or no urination for six hours.

Causes of low body temperature in children

Exposure to cold weather is the most common cause of hypothermia.

In general, prolonged exposure to temperatures lower than body temperature leads to a decrease in the body temperature,

As mentioned previously, the body temperature decreases when the body loses more heat than it produces.

It is worth noting that infants have a lower body temperature than adults

This is because they do not have an energy reserve that enables them to shiver to raise their body temperature.

In general, there are many reasons that lead to a low body temperature in children, including:

Wearing clothes that are not warm and not suitable for cold weather.

Wearing damp clothes in cold weather.

Falling in cold water.

Living in a cold home, and this may be due to poor heating or the use of air conditioning equipment.

Children are mentally ill, as they lack the ability to judge outside temperatures.

The use of some types of drugs that weaken an individual’s response, such as:

  • Opioids
  • Narcotic drugs
  • Antipsychotics.

Diagnosis of hypothermia in children

The doctor diagnoses hypothermia by measuring it and observing the symptoms on the patient,

And as mentioned previously, the temperature drop is divided into three sections based on the severity of the decrease.

The decrease may be mild, moderate, or severe.

This is based on the temperature obtained after measuring,

It is worth noting that body temperature can be measured from different places in the body, the most common of which are: the mouth, ear, underarm, rectum,

It should be noted that the temperature readings differ according to the location from which it was measured.

For example, the body temperature when measured from the ear or rectum is slightly higher than the readings that appear when measured from the mouth.

The temperature reading taken from the rectum is the most accurate.

Treatment of hypothermia in children

A hypothermic child needs immediate treatment.

Because hypothermia is a critical situation that requires immediate treatment in order to avoid complications that may occur,

It should be noted that emergency medical help should be sought if the child is exposed to severe tremors and confusion,

In addition, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) should be started when it is noticed that the child is not breathing or if his breathing is shallow,

Among the procedures that can be taken to treat hypothermia, we mention the following:

  • Keep the child in a warm place.
  • Remove any wet clothing from the child’s body.
  • Use blankets around the child’s body, especially his neck and chest.
  • Provide the child with warm drinks if he is able to drink.
  • Contact with the child’s body to promote heat transfer through skin contact.

İmportant notice:

The content of the submitted articles, including all text, graphics, images, and other materials, is provided for educational purposes only.

The information provided is not a substitute for professional medical advice or professional diagnosis.

Moreover, the information on this website should not be taken as final medical advice in relation to any case or individual situation.

We strongly recommend that you always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health service provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition, your general health, or the health of your child.



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