Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.
Hypothermia is defined as a body temperature (core, or internal body
temperature) of less than 95 F (35 C). Usually, hypothermia occurs when the
body's temperature regulation is overwhelmed by a cold environment. However, in
the medical and lay literature there are essentially two major classifications,
accidental hypothermia and intentional hypothermia. Accidental hypothermia
usually occurs from an exposure to cold that results in lowering the body
temperature while intentional hypothermia is body temperature lowering induced
usually for a medical procedure. This article will focus on accidental
hypothermia. Hypothermia is a medical emergency that, when quickly and
appropriately treated, people can recover with little or no consequences.
Body temperature, when discussing hypothermia, is usually termed "core"
temperature. This temperature is the internal temperature inside the body. It's
a measurement is most accurately done by a rectal thermometer, a rectal probe
thermometer that has a constant temperature readout or by a bladder or
esophageal temperature device. Temperatures taken by other methods may not
adequately measure core temperature.
What are the risk factors for hypothermia?
The highest risk factors for hypothermia are accidental exposure to cold
weather or partial or complete immersion in cold water. Consequently, not
dressing appropriately for cold weather and loosing body heat or taking chances
like walking on a partially frozen river or lake can cause rapid body
temperature loss due to cold water immersion. These and similar situations
can result in hypothermia. Elderly people and young children are at high risk
for hypothermia because their bodies do not regulate their temperatures as
efficiently as normal adults. In addition, people that have mental problems or
whose judgment is impaired by alcohol and drug use place themselves in
situations where they are likely to develop hypothermia (for example, an
alcoholic sleeping in a doorway during subfreezing temperatures). Various
medications and medical conditions may decrease the body's ability to regulate
its internal temperature. Some examples include: