How Do Burns Cause Hypothermia

By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: April 5, 2017
How Do Burns Cause Hypothermia

Skin plays a significant role in controlling body temperature. But in case of severe burns, when a large portion of skin is damaged, the patient tends to lose body heat and suffer from dangerously low body temperature condition. This condition is called hypothermia, which is a serious condition in which body loses heat much faster than it produces heat. This article will put some light on how do burns cause hypothermia, and how to deal with it.

You may also be interested in: How to Prevent Hypothermia

How hypothermia is related to burns

Hypothermia is a serious emergency condition in which the patient’s body temperature reaches extremely low degrees, causing the patient to shiver excessively, lose mental control, feel drowsy, and sometimes even pass out. Due to lack of coordination and poor decision making, some patients may even start removing their clothes. As skin plays a significant role in maintaining heat inside the body, its injury due to burns may make the body extremely cold, thus causing hypothermia. If a person has gone through excessive burns on his body or skin, then he is at high risk of developing hypothermia, because of which he needs extra care to stay warm.

Look for signs of hypothermia

The symptoms of hypothermia depend on how cold the patient’s body has become. A patient suffering from mild to moderate hypothermia may show symptoms like constant shivering, pale or cold skin, fast or shallow breathing, tiredness, unable to think, difficulty moving, slurred speech, drowsiness and loss of coordination. In case of severe hypothermia, the shivering will stop, the patient’s pupils will start to dilate, the pulse will become very weak and irregular, and the patient will start to pass out and become unconscious. Other complications that may occur as a result of hypothermia are frostbite and gangrene. So, you should take the patient to an emergency care provider as soon as you start noticing mild symptoms of hypothermia.

People more vulnerable to develop hypothermia

Older people are more at risk of developing hypothermia, as their body’s capacity to control temperature and sense of cold decreases. Little children also have an inefficient mechanism to generate heat. A mental condition may also interfere with their judgment and make them more vulnerable to hypothermia. People who use drugs or alcohol may feel warm inside, but their blood vessels may expand or dilate to allow rapid heat loss. A person also have increased risks of hypothermia if they are suffering from hypothyroidism, poor nutrition, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, dehydration, or taking medicines like antidepressants, narcotic pain relievers, sedatives or antipsychotics.

How to prevent hypothermia in a burnt patient

Once you have given first aid to a burnt patient, try to keep the burns cool but the patient warm. If the patient has burnt a large surface area of skin, then he is at high risk of developing hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia in a burnt patient, you should cover the burns and use a cling film to prevent cooling caused due to evaporation. You can use a space blanket on top of a normal blanket to keep the patient warm and prevent loss of body heat. Use a room heater to warm up the room, and a doctor may decide to give him warm intravenous liquids.

How Do Burns Cause Hypothermia - How to prevent hypothermia in a burnt patient

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How Do Burns Cause Hypothermia, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

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