Hypothermia develops when the body temperature falls
below 35°C (95°F). The effects vary depending on the speed
of the onset and the level to which the body temperature
falls. Moderate hypothermia can usually be
Severe hypothermia – when the core body
temperature falls below 30°C (86°F) – is often,
but not always fatal. However, no matter how low the
body temperature is, it is always worth persisting with life-saving
procedures until a doctor arrives to assess the casualty.
There may be:
- shivering and pale, cold, dry skin
- disorientation, apathy or irrational behaviour; occasionally
- impaired consciousness or lethargy
- slow and shallow breathing
- slow and weakening pulse
- in extreme cases the heart may stop.
Make sure that they are dry and
sheltered from the wind, prevent further
heat loss with blankets and, if conscious, give them a
warm drink. Dial 999 or 112.
These hints are no substitute for thorough knowledge of first
aid! St John Ambulance holds first aid
courses throughout the country.