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Warning Signs of Hypothermia Fact Sheet

Health Information

/ by UK HealthCare

Extreme cold causes our bodies to lose heat much faster and can even cause hypothermia, which happens when our body temperature gets below 95 degrees. Hypothermia is a serious medical condition that requires immediate attention. If untreated, it can lead to pneumonia, cardiac arrest or even death.

Here’s what to look out for:

  • The “umbles”: grumbling, mumbling, stumbling or fumbling.
  • Shivering, though shivering also means that a person’s heat regulation systems are still working.
  • Exhaustion, confusion or memory loss. These symptoms will begin gradually.
  • For infants, look for bright red, cold skin and very low energy levels.

What to wear – and do – to stay safe in cold weather:

  • Cover your face and mouth with a warm hat, scarf or mask.
  • Wear several layers of loose-fitting clothing, with a water-resistant coat.
  • Keep your hands and feet warm with mittens or and water-resistant boots.
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a big cause of hypothermia.
  • Always monitor your children. Talk to them about the dangers of cold weather and make sure they’re dressed appropriately.
  • Check on elderly or sick loved ones – it’s often harder for them to stay warm.

How to treat hypothermia:

  • Seek shelter inside immediately. Hypothermia can happen indoors, so pay attention to inside temperatures as well.
  • Remove the person’s wet clothing and cover them with dry, warm clothes or blankets.
  • Monitor the person’s temperature, and offer warm liquids that don’t contain alcohol or caffeine.
  • If a person’s temperature falls below 95 degrees, call 911 and get medical help immediately. If there’s no sign of breathing or a pulse, begin CPR.