By Steven Reinberg
SUNDAY, Dec. 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- In winter, older adults are at higher risk of losing body heat and slipping into potentially fatal hypothermia, U.S. health officials warn.
Older people can lose body heat quickly and find it harder to recognize the signs, experts at the U.S. National Institute on Aging and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) explained.
Hypothermia is a dangerous drop in core body temperature. It can happen when it's cold inside or outside and the body is unable to produce enough heat.
Even short exposure to cold can result in hypothermia. Older folks are especially vulnerable because their response to cold can be diminished by chronic medical conditions and some medicines, including over-the-counter cold remedies, the officials noted.
Warning signs of hypothermia include: slowed or slurred speech; sleepiness or confusion; shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs; poor control over body movement; slow reactions; weak pulse; or a core body temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit or lower.
A body temperature that low can cause health problems, such as heart rhythm disturbances, and kidney and liver damage, according to information in an NIH news release.
If you think someone has the signs of hypothermia, call 911 and try to move them to a warmer place.
Tips to avoid hypothermia include:
To learn more about hypothermia, visit the Health in Aging Foundation.
SOURCE: U.S. National Institutes of Health, news release, December 2018
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