Hypothermia

Hypothermia happens when the body has prolonged exposures to very cold temperatures. When exposed to these cold temperatures, the body will start to lose it's heat, faster than it will produce it.

Symptoms of Hypothermia:

  • Shivering.

  • Exhaustion or drowsiness.

  • Fumbling hands.

  • Confusion.

  • Slurred speech.

  • Memory loss.

  • Trouble breathing.

  • The temperature of your brain, heart and other organs will start to drop.

Signs of Hypothermia:

  • Continuous shivering.

  • Poor coordination.

  • Slowing down.

  • Numb feet and hands, stumbling and clumsiness,

  • Confused, dazed, forgetful or carelessness.

  • Slow responses.

  • Decreased attention span.

  • Dilated pupils. 

Stages of Hypothermia:

Mild - High blood pressure, shivering, rapid breathing and heart rate, constricted blood vessels, apathy and fatigue, impaired judgment, and lack of coordination.​

Moderate - Irregular heartbeat, a slower heart rate and breathing, lower level of consciousness, dilated pupils, low blood pressure, and a decrease in reflexes.

Severe - Labored breathing, nonreactive pupils, heart failurepulmonary edema, and cardiac arrest.

Tips on how to prevent Hypothermia:

  • If you have fallen in the water, try and get your body out of the water. If unable to get on land, try and hold onto a floating object or boat. Cold water will decrease your body temperature faster than the cold air.

  • When in the water and wearing a PFD or lifejacket, use the Heat Escape Lessening Position (HELP). This will increase your survival time by 50%. Cross your arms tightly over your chest and bring your knees up to your chest. Do not try to swim, it is best to remain calm and still.

  • If you are with a group of people wearing PFDs or lifejackets, then everyone should huddle. It will increase your group's survival time by 50%.