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Flashcards in EAC Extremes of Body Temperature Deck (17):

normal body temperature




Abnormally low body temperature

body core temperature is


Heat Exhaustion

body core temperature is 39-40C

Abnormally high body temperature. Caused by excessive sweating combines with an inadequate water intake.


Heat Stroke

body core temperature is 41C or above

If unreplaced water, water contained in the body is eventually lost through sweat and the body starts to dehydrate. when this happens:
-the temperature regulating mechanism in the brain, the hypothalamus, breaks down
-the body continues to produce heat with no means of cooling, in effect it overheats


3 main groups at risk from Hypothermia

The Elderly: especially those who live alone and in poor circumstances, inadequate heating and food

Young Babies: especially premature babies

People Involved in Outdoor Activities: climbers, cavers, sailors etc


3 main types of Hypothermia

Acute: immersion hypothermia. person looses heat rapidly

Sub Acute: exhaustion hypothermia

Chronic: Usually over days or longer


signs and symptoms of:
Hypothermia in adults

Confusion, dysarthria (problem controlling muscles for speech)
Bradycardia, may be undetectable
Ice cold to touch, possible shivering
Pale colour, cyanosis at the extremities with a moribund appearance
Dilated pupils with no reaction to light
Shallow, slow, irregular breathing patterns
Abnormality of vision
Irrational behaviour, loss of reflexes
Stumbling gait, ataxia (affected co-ordination, balance and speech)
Gradual LOC, coma, death


signs and symptoms of:
Hypothermia in young babies

Baby very quiet, does not cry
Loss of appetite, refuses to eat
Shows no interest in their surroundings
Does not shiver as this reflex is not yet developed


management of:
Hypothermia in adults

Time critical for: major ABC problems, Haemodynamic compromise, decreased LoC, cardiac arrest
O2 if required
Temperature measurement
Take pulse over 1 minute due to bradycardia
Consider C-Spine
Wrapping enough to prevent further heat loss using a blanket and moving to a warm environment
Allow the body to recover gradually
Give hot drinks if pt gsc15 and uninjured
Transport to hospital as quickly as possible as a stretcher case


management of:
Hypothermia - DO NOT's

Strip clothing unless wet
Give alcohol
Make the patient move
Apply external heat or re-heat rapidly
Rub the patients skin - vasodilation inc heat loss
Wrap in foil blankets


management of:
Hypothermia in young babies

Wrap baby sufficiently to prevent further heat loss

Warm baby gradually


management of:
Immersion Hypothermia

First ventilate the lungs with 100% O2
ECG if no obvious response or improvement following lung ventilations

Should be considered in all cases of near drowning.

Can mimic the signs of cardiac arrest

commencing ECG in first stage may induce VF


3 main groups at risk from Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke

High temperatures at their place of work

Long periods of sunshine

Excessive physical exertion, e.g. soldiers exercising or people who have taken ecstasy


signs and symptoms of:
Heat exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Unconsciousness may start suddenly and deepen
Initially rapid and weak pulse becoming full and bounding
Shallow breathing becoming rapid, noisy and panting
Headaches and dizziness developing into confusion delirium
Muscular cramp and twitching developing into convulsion
Initially pallid colour turning flushed, developing congestion of lips and tongue
Sweating and warm skin, becoming dry and very hot
Temp >39C
Haemoconcentration (blood thickens)
Hyponatraemia or hypernatraemia (sodium levels)


management of:
Heat exhaustion and Heat Stroke

Time critical for: major ABC problems, Haemodynamic compromise, decreased LoC, cardiac arrest
O2 if required
Move to cool environment
Place at rest
Give cool drinks in small regular quantities
Sponging with luke warm water
Temperature measurement

Heat Stroke:
Remove as much clothing as possible
Wrap in wet sheet if available
Fanning the pt vigorously
Place ice cold packs if available under the arms and around the neck
Treating the patient accordingly if unconscious


ways for heat gain and loss

Convection - from body by moving air
Evaporation - of water from skin or clothing
Radiation - dissipating into surrounding air
Conduction - form body into solid object


severity of Hypothermia
characteristic sequence of events

37C Normal
35-36C Shivering: sensation of cold
34-35C Confusion and amnesia
33C Shivering ceased, replaced by muscular rigidity, irregular pulse
31C Noticeable drowsiness: semi-conscious
30-33C Unconsciousness: pupils dilated, loss of reflexes
28C Pulse absent: apparent death
24-28C Death