Heat Loss Happens


The body produces heat. Heat is energy and energy tends toward equilibrium. In other words, heat flows from high energy density toward lower energy density. If the environment is on average at a lower energy density than the body, then heat will flow away from the body to the environment.

Heat loss occurs by several mechanisms

Knowing how heat is lost can be helpful when assessing hypothermia risk. Frail elders will need to be scrupulously protected from conduction, convection and evaporative heat loss. Reducing drafts and layering clothing will minimize convection loss. Padding contact points and layering socks can reduce conduction losses. Keeping the body dry will reduce evaporative losses.


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Reviewed 2/09