Severe hypothermia is life-threatening. Mild hypothermia (32–35 °C body temperature) is usually easy to treat. However, the risk of death increases as the core body temperature drops below 32 °C. If core body temperature is lower than 28 °C, the condition is life-threatening without immediate medical attention
Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, cold skin, slurred speech and confusion. Babies with hypothermia may feel cold and limp.
Hypothermia needs to be treated quickly. If you think someone has it, call 999 and try to gradually warm them up while you wait for help to arrive.
Causes of hypothermia include not wearing warm clothes in cold weather, falling into cold water and living in a cold house.
Keeping your house warm, having warm drinks and wearing extra layers when you’re outside in the cold can help reduce your risk of hypothermia.
Early signs of hypothermia include:
cold and pale skin
These are symptoms of mild hypothermia, where someone’s body temperature is between 32C and 35C.
If their temperature drops to 32C or lower, they’ll usually stop shivering completely and may pass out.
This is a sign that their condition is getting worse and emergency medical help is needed.
Hypothermia in babies:
Babies with hypothermia may look healthy, but their skin will feel cold.
They may also be limp, unusually quiet and refuse to feed.
You should call 999 and then give first aid if you think someone has hypothermia.
First aid for hypothermia:
To warm the person up:
1. Move them indoors.
2. Remove any wet clothing and dry them.
3. Wrap them in blankets.
4. Give them a warm non-alcoholic drink, but only if they can swallow normally.
5. Give energy food that contains sugar, such as a chocolate bar, but only if they can swallow normally.
If the person cannot be moved indoors, find something for them to rest on to protect them from the cold ground, like a towel or a blanket.
If they do not appear to be breathing – and you know how to do it – give them CPR, but you must continue this until professional help arrives in the form of the ambulance service or a medical team.
Things to avoid:
Some things can make hypothermia worse:
do not put the person into a hot bath
do not massage their limbs
do not use heating lamps
do not give them alcohol to drink