Credit: ESA/IPEV/PNRA-M. Buttu
A very common danger to humans in cold temperatures is hypothermia and nowhere more so than in Antarctica. The potentially fatal condition sets in when the body cannot generate enough heat to regain the warmth it has lost.
It’s so cold noodles freeze in seconds. ESA/IPEV/PNRA-M. Buttu
Our bodies runs at a comfortable 37°C. Hypothermia sets when core body temperature drops below 35.5°C. Signs include sleepiness, confused speech, and clumsiness.
The body fights the lower body temperature by diverting blood away from hands and feet to the core. This causes blood vessels in the extremities to constrict, resulting in loss of physical coordination. Eventually vital bodily functions begin to slow down to conserve energy and heat, including the heart, which can go into cardiac arrest.
The simple answer to avoiding hypothermia is to keep warm. How does the crew at Antarctica manage this?
By dressing smart. When preparing to go out into Antarctic temperatures, crew must keep a few different factors in mind. Temperatures fluctuate depending on where they are located along the peninsula as well as season.
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