Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. A temperature below 95⁰F is a medical emergency. When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can’t work normally.
Signs and symptoms of hypothermia:
Slurred speech or mumbling
Clumsiness or lack of coordination
Drowsiness or very low energy
Confusion or memory loss
A person with severe hypothermia may be unconscious. Handle that person gently and call 9-1-1.
Someone with hypothermia may not be aware of their condition because the symptoms often begin gradually.
Specific conditions that can lead to hypothermia:
Wearing clothes that aren’t warm enough for the conditions.
Staying out in the cold too long.
Being unable to get out of wet clothes or move to a warm, dry place.
Living in a house that’s too cold.
Falling into water.
Certain medical conditions
Alcohol or drug use
Being an infant or older adult
Inadequate food intake and dehydration
Cover your body, especially your head, face, neck and hands.
Avoid activities that can cause you to sweat a lot.
Wear loose-fitting, layered clothing.
Stay as dry as possible. Get out of wet clothing as soon as possible.
Eat well-balanced meals and stay hydrated. Don’t drink alcohol if you plan to be outdoors in cold weather.
Hypothermia is a medical emergency. If you notice any of the above symptoms, take the person’s temperature. If it is below 95⁰F, call 9-1-1. Handle that person gently.
For mild cases of hypothermia:
Get the person into a warm room.
Remove any wet clothing.
Warm the center of the person’s body, their core (chest, neck, head, and groin), with dry layers of blankets, clothing, towels, or sheets.
Drink warm fluids, but do not give alcoholic drinks. Do not try to give beverages to someone who is unconscious or can’t swallow.