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    Spinal Cord Injury Temperature Regulation

    Most people with complete spinal cord injuries do not sweat below the level of the injury and many quadriplegics cannot even sweat above the injury (even though they may sweat due to autonomic dysreflexia). With loss of the ability to sweat or vasoconstrict within affected dermatomes the patient becomes poikilothermic and needs careful control of their environmental conditions. Therefore, if a high paraplegic or quadriplegic is in an outside temperature over 90 F, especially when the humidity is high, the body temperature will begin to rise (Poikilothermia). Likewise in a cold environment, the body may not be able to get the messages through to the brain that the body is cooling down, and if left untreated, the person will soon become hypothermic.

    Cooling Down With a Spinal Cord Injury
    One of the best ways for a person with a spinal cord injury to cool down is to have a cold wet towel wrapped around the back of the neck. The skin should also be damped down to allow the water to evaporate from the skin, and hence cool the body down. It's a bit like artificial sweat really, but it does work. If I go on holiday, I take a water spray with me and spray my head and shoulders with cold water if I think I'm getting to hot.
    Some of the symptoms of overheating that I as a C5/6 Quadraplegic suffer from, are a headache, nasal congestion, tiredness and reduced concentration. The way I treat overheating is to drink plenty of cold fluids, eat regularly, place a cold wet towel on the back of the neck, and spray the face with a water mist. For the nasal congestion, I use a nasal decongestant, and its surprising how effective this can be at cooling the body down. The most obvious is also to sit in the shade!
    Last edited by GL; 01-16-2011 at 06:46 AM.

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