Although older adults are more vulnerable to hypothermia than younger members of the population, infants are also susceptible.  Among the elderly, those most likely to develop hypothermia are the sick, the frail, the very old, those who can't afford enough heat, and those medically vulnerable individuals who do not know how to keep warm when exposed to the cold.

Others who are susceptible include individuals who (1) live alone or in isolated areas (2) do no shiver or react to cold; and (3) take certain medications that prevent the body from regulating temperatures normally, such as anti-depressants, sedatives, tranquilizers, and cardiovascular drugs.  Drugs deserve special mention because they are thought to be a major predisposing factor to hypothermia in older adults, who, while comprising little more than 10 percent of the population, consume 25 percent of the nation's prescription drugs. Check with a doctor or pharmacist for information on other drugs that increase susceptibility to hypothermia. 

What can you do?

If you live alone arrange for a daily check in call with a friend, neighbor, relative,etc.  Wear warm clothing, wear several layers of clothes, with a hat and scarf.  Stay dry, use extra blankets when sleeping.  Eat nutritious foods and exercise moderately; proper diet and physical conditioning help protect you against abnormal heat and cold.  Get proper rest.  Drink adequate amounts of liquids, such as water. 

*Article from South Carolina Office on Aging

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