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Hypothermia risk of the elderly

The U.S. National Institute of Aging has warned older people to be aware of the dangers of hypothermia, in a recent statement.

The National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health, also provides advice to help people avoid hypothermia.


What is hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a core, or internal body temperature of less than 95 degrees F (35 deg C). Hypothermia occurs when there is more heat leaving your body than your body can produce. It generally occurs when someone has been exposed to the cold over a period of time.

Older people are at increased risk for hypothermia due to other illnesses they may have, such as diabetes and some medicines they may take. Older adults can develop hypothermia faster than younger adults, making them increasing vulnerable during winter.

Those suffering from hypothermia may have a gradual loss of mental and physical abilities. Severe hypothermia can lead to death. It is estimated that over 700 Americans die each year due to cold temperatures.


Tips for preventing hypothermia

The video below gives some tips for preventing hypothermia.

Below are some tips from The National Institute of Aging to help prevent hypothermia:

  • Wear several layers of loose clothing when it is cold. The layers will trap warm air between them.
  • Wear a hat, scarf, gloves or mittens, and warm clothes when you go outside. A significant amount of your body heat can be lost through your head.
  • Keep warm at home by wearing long underwear under your clothes, along with socks and slippers.
  • Make sure your home is warm enough. Set your thermostat to at least 68 to 70 degrees F.
  • Check with your doctor to see if any medications you are taking may increase your risk for hypothermia.

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