Hypothermia comes from the Greek "hypo" meaning "under," and the Greek "therme" meaning "heat." It is the dropping of your body's core temperature below 98.6°F (37°C). If your core temperature dips to 92°F (33°C) or less, you'll no longer be able to help yourself if you're traveling alone.
The world's lowest recorded body temperature:
Hypothermia: A Cold-Blooded Killer:
Here are a few things you can do to help prevent hypothermia when you are in cold-weather:
- Decrease heat loss. Wear proper clothing especially in the head, neck, and torso areas; replace wet clothing with dry; create or find shelter from the elements; avoid or insulate the body from cold surfaces.
- Produce heat. Exercise. Move around using larger muscle groups. Eat calorie dense foods frequently. Create a fire and use with space blankets. Get in the sun. Hydrate with warm fluids.
Signs and Symptoms of Hypothermia
Being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of hypothermia is important to be able to prevent heat loss and keep a person from becoming a cold weather casualty. The majority of people who die from exposure have ample early warnings that unfortunately are ignored. Recognizing these signs gives you a chance to do something before conditions become worse.
A sign is a condition(s) you see in someone else, while a symptom is a condition(s) you tell someone else. Here are the basic signs and symptoms for hypothermia that can be readily understood in the field using no medical gear.
Early Signs and Symptoms [core temperature 95°F (35°C) to 96°F (35.5°C)]
- Decreased awareness
- Unable to think or solve problems
- Skin pale and cool to the touch
- Numbness (stinging pain)
- Loss of dexterity
- Deterioration of fine and complex motor skills
Advancing Signs and Symptoms [core temperature 93°F (33.8°C) to 94°F (34.4°C)]
- Obvious shivering
- Little or no effort to protect oneself
- Unaware of present situation
Advanced Signs and Symptoms [core temperature 91°F (32.7°C) to 92°F (33.3°C)]
- Intense shivering
- Difficulty walking
- Thick or slurred speech
- No effort to protect oneself
- Skin appears ashen gray and cold
- Possible hallucinations
The Death Zone [core temperature 87°F (30.5°C) to 90°F (32.2°C)]
- Shivering comes in waves
- Unable to walk
- Speech very difficult to understand
If the core temperature continues to drop, shivering will cease, breathing and pulse will appear absent, and the skin will become blue in color. Death quickly follows.
Quick Advice To Help Someone With Hypothermia: