What is cold exposure?
Cold exposure, sometimes known as cold stress, is the collective name for several conditions that can affect the body when it is exposed to cold temperatures.
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Hypothermia occurs when the body's core temperature, which is normally around 37 degrees Celsius, drops below 35 degrees Celsius. Symptoms of hypothermia include cold, pale skin, shivering, rapid breathing, an urge to urinate, confusion, drowsiness and unconsciousness.
Trench foot, also known as 'immersion foot', is a condition caused by feet being wet and cold for days at a time. Trench foot can occur even when the temperature is not particularly low. In trench foot, blood circulation in the foot is slow, and feet begin to ache and …
Frostbite happens when exposure to the cold causes water in tissues to freeze and form water crystals. This results in tissue damage, reduced function and increased susceptibility to infections.
Chilblains are caused by cold damage to blood vessels in the skin. The affected area becomes reddish, swollen and painful. Blisters and sores can appear. Chilblains will take a few days to heal. The affected area will remain damaged and sensitive to cold.
Cold shock is the body's response to sudden cold. It is commonly the result of falling or jumping into cold water. The cold shock response is short, which can only last a few minutes. However, it can be very dangerous, since the sudden cold constricts blood vessels in …
Cold damage is usually preventable through sensible precautions, such as planning ahead for excursions and other exposure to cold environments. Pack and use appropriate cold-weather clothes and gear, wear a lifejacket near cold water, change clothes …
Hypothermia is a medical emergency and requires professional medical care. If not properly treated, it can lead to serious harm and death.
Frostbite causes permanent damage to the affected area or limb. For example, it can result in the loss of the use of your fingers, hands, toes, feet, or tissue loss.