What Extreme Cold Does to the Body

Posted by on Sunday, January 8, 2017

As humans we are very temperature sensitive.

In cases of extreme cold the body has several mechanisms and vulnerabilities.

A reduction in body temperature results in impaired body function.

When skin temperature falls below 10°C, the surface blood vessels dilate rather than constrict, If the temperature falls further, the blood vessel's alternate between dilation and constriction.

When the body gets cold it will protect the vital organs such as the brain and heart. It will ignore other areas such as fingertips, toes, nose, and earlobes. That is why they get so cold, because blood is taken from sites to protect the vital organs.

Frost Nip is is a cooling of tissues without cellular destruction.

Frost Bite is worse, it is an injury that is caused by exposure of parts of the body to the cold. The cold causes freezing of your skin and underlying tissues. Fingers, toes and feet are most commonly affected. A wind chill of -45°C can cause frostbite in just five minutes.

Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 37°C. Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature passes below 35°C.

The Team

© Wx Centre