Hypothermia is a very serious condition that causes around 750 annual deaths in the United States. It is especially a problem for those who work in the maritime industry or even recreational boaters. Hypothermia often sets in after someone is exposed to extremely cold water, especially for a prolonged period of time. For instance, someone may fall overboard, and then be rescued, but they could still succumb to hypothermia later.
That death from hypothermia would still have been a result of the accident and the injuries suffered. Who is most at risk for developing hypothermia from cold water?
Age can play a role. Children who are one or younger are at a greater risk, as are adults who are 60 years old or older.
Certain health factors may influence the likelihood of someone developing hypothermia. For instance, someone who has hypothyroidism is at greater risk than someone who does not.
Medications and alcohol
People need to consider the types of things that they consume before going out on or in the water and how those may play a role. For instance, certain types of drugs – such as sedative hypnotics or neuroleptic medications – can make hypothermia more likely. Even the use of alcohol can make it more likely because it relaxes blood vessels.
What comes next?
If someone is at risk of developing hypothermia, they need to be removed from the cold water and from their soaking wet clothes. They also need to get medical attention. Even simply getting them warm and giving them something warm to drink can be helpful. That said, even with proper intervention, serious complications can occur.
If you’ve been harmed or have lost a loved one due to hypothermia due to an incident at work or in an accident that was another party’s fault, it’s important to find out more about your right to seek compensation.