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HYPERTHERMIA/HYPOTHERMIA


Because of your spinal cord injury, the temperature of your body has an increased tendency to fluctuate according to the temperature of the Environment. If you are in a hot room your temperature may increase (hyperthermia); if you are in a cold room, your temperature may decrease (Hypothermia). This occurs because of the altered function of the Autonomic Nervous System. The higher the level of injury, the greater the tendency for fluctuations in your body temperature.

Hyperthermia

Hyperthermia refers to an elevation in body temperature. For example, it may occur on a hot day if you are out-of-doors, sitting in a hot car, or covered with too many blankets.

One or more of the following symptoms may indicate hyperthermia:

* Skin feels hot and dry and appears flushed.
* Feeling of weakness
* Dizziness
* Visual disturbances
* Headache
* Nausea
* Elevated temperature
* Pulse is generally rapid and may be irregular or weak.

It is important that you attempt to prevent hyperthermia when exposed to an overheated environment.

* Be familiar with how long you can be in an overheated environment without symptoms
* Drink lots of fluids
* Wear protective, light-weight clothing (cotton and light colors)
* Wear a hat

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PoinTIS Copyright © 1998 the Louis Calder Memorial Library of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center, all rights reserved.

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