Hypothermia is low body temperature. Mild hypothermia is defined as a core temperature of between 35 and 32 øC; severe hypothermia is a core temperature below 32 øC.
Monitoring of hypothermic patients requires a special low-reading thermometer.
In the young, hypothermia is likely to be the result of a single, profound insult, for example immersion in cold water.
In the aged, hypothermia is more likely to have a multifactorial aetiology, including:
- age-related impairment of homeostasis, shivering and perception of temperature
- economic, social and cultural factors
- disease processes
- drugs eg administration of diazepam, nitrazepam, reserpine
Last reviewed 01/2018