Human body temperature is the amount of heat present in our body, which is dependent on the metabolism of the body as well as several other factors. Every reaction that occurs in the human body has some form of energy associated with it and also occurs at a certain temperature. The pH and cell voltage is also dependent on it.
When the pH, cell voltage and internal body temperature is regulated, the human body can function normally. Since it is an essential factor in the normal functioning of the body, it is always considered during a health checkup. The normal body temperature is 98.6 °F. We will discuss about circumstances like low body temperature 95 °F or low body temperature 96 °F.
Low Body Temperature – Should It Be Concerned?
Probably not. You may not regard this as a severe condition.
Generally speaking, the body temperature of human changes every moment but is usually limited to the range from 97.5 °F to 98.8 °F (36.1 °C to 37.1 °C). The body temperature also differs from person to person, for instance, some people will feel comfortable even if their body temperature is lower than 96 °F. Also, the mild decrease in body temperature is usually temporary. The situation can be changed after drinking hot water, taking a hot bath or wearing enough clothes.
However, if your body temperature is lower than 95 °F, then you need to seek medical help immediately as it may indicate severe conditions.
Causes of Low Body Temperature
There are various reasons for low body temperature under 95 °F. A normal fall in temperature can be caused when a person is exposed to cold weather, is wearing wet clothes for long duration. However, the reasons for abnormally low body temperature can be underlying health conditions or disorders. Some of the reasons are given below:
- Kidney or liver failure
- Addison’s disease
- Rapid breathing
- Side effect of certain medication
Low Body Temperature – When to Worry About
When the body is exposed to cold temperatures for long periods, the body temperature can drop dangerously and this condition is called hypothermia. During winters the risk of the body being exposed to cold temperatures is high. However, this can happen even during the spring or summer if you are exposed to very cold temperatures for extended period. Since the normal body temperature is 98.6 °F, low body temperature of 95 °F or lower is termed as hypothermia. If the body temperature continues to drop to 82 °F or lower, it is referred to as severe hypothermia.
It is not necessary that only exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia. Sometimes a low temperature setting at home can cause elderly individuals to develop mild hypothermia, while the temperature may be fine for someone who is young or healthy. An air-conditioned home or home without proper heating can have these occurrences. It is difficult to determine such mild hypothermia since the signs and symptoms may not be obvious.
First Aid for Low Body Temperature Under 95 °F
If you come across a person who has hypothermia or you suspect them to have hypothermia, the following first aid measures can be taken:
- In case the person is displaying symptoms of hypothermia or is confused or cannot think properly, 911 should be called immediately.
- In an unconscious person the first thing that needs to be checked is the breathing, airway and circulation. If the person is not breathing or is breathing less than 6 breaths in a minute, CPR or rescue breathing should be started.
- Shift the person to a warmer place or indoors. Cover the body with a blanket, especially the head and neck, so that heat is retained in the body. The person should be kept away from wind as well.
- If the person has wet clothes on, they should be removed and replaced with dry clothes.
- Keep the person warm, but using own body heat if required. Warm compress can be placed on the neck, chest and groin region. In case the person is conscious and is able to swallow, warm, non-alcoholic fluid can be given to them.
- The person should be accompanied till medical help arrives.
When to See a Doctor
As discussed above, 911 should be called if you come across a person who is showing any signs of hypothermia. Even a person who has been exposed to extreme cold for long periods should be given emergency treatment. Some of the symptoms of hypothermia in adults are:
- Shivering, although as hypothermia progresses the shivering may stop. But shivering shows that the heat regulation system of a person are working, which is a good sign
- Shallow and slow breathing
- Being exhausted and drowsy
- Loss of memory and being confused
- Mumbling, slurred speech
- Stumbling while walking, uncoordinated
- Weak pulse
- Unconsciousness in case of severe hypothermia, sometimes without pulse or breathing