Hypothermia happens when someone’s body
temperature drops below 35°C (95°F). Normal body temperature is
around 37°C (98. 6°F).
Hypothermia can become life-threatening
quickly, so it’s important to treat someone with hypothermia
straight away. Severe hypothermia, when the body temperature falls
below 30°C (86°F), is often fatal.
Hypothermia is usually caused by being in
a cold environment for a long time. This could be from staying
outdoors in cold conditions, falling into cold water, or from
living in a poorly heated house. Elderly people, babies, homeless
people and anyone who is thin and frail or not able to move around
easily are particularly vulnerable.
What to look for
These are the four key things to look for:
- Shivering, cold, pale, and dry skin
- Tiredness, confusion, and irrational
- Slow and shallow breathing
- Slow and weakening pulse
What you need to do
If they are outside, if possible get them
Cover them with layers of blankets and warm
the room to about 25°C (77°F). Give them something warm to drink,
like soup, and high energy food, like chocolate.
Once they have warmed up, tell them to see a
doctor as soon as possible.
If they lose consciousness at any point, open
their airway, check their breathing and prepare to treat someone
who’s become unconscious.
If they are outdoors and you can’t move them
indoors, find something for them to lie on to protect them from the
cold ground, like heather or pine branches.
Put them in a sleeping bag and cover them with
blankets, if available. Make sure their head is covered too.
Call 999 or 112 for emergency medical
Stay with them until help arrives.
While you wait for help to arrive, keep
checking their breathing, pulse and level of