hypothermia symptom

Hypothermia symptom manifests itself when the body core temperature has dropped to below 36 deg Celsius or 98 Fahrenheit .Below this temperature our metabolism becomes impaired and the body cannot function at an optimal state .Body temperature declining to levels below 30 deg Celsius or 80 deg Fahrenheit could be fatal.

Overview of Hypothermia Symptoms

  • amnesia
  • an erratic pulse and eventual drop in the pulse rate
  • low blood pressure
  • confusion progressing to delirium
  • muscle spasticity and loss of muscle control
  • face and skin pallor
  • shivering
  • tremor
  • when shivering stops major emergency is imminent
  • un-accounted weakness
  • un-explained bleeding usually from the mouth

There are various stages to hypothermia and the breakdown of these stages is done in accordance to the body core temperature:

1)Mild Hypothermia Symptom
The core temperature is mildly lower than your normal core temperature,about 96F or 35C.This level of hypothermia can be encountered without any lucid knowledge you have experienced it.

The hands,face and feet may feel very cold.Initially numbness starts to set in.Shivering starts to get out of control.

Your body is still telling you how it feels,expecting your response.Sometimes the testosterone overrides boys thinking,women being fine of course, and some guys try to last past this stage,without moving to safer grounds.

Shortly after, loss of muscle control starts to set in. Spasms,tremor, muscular spasticity,become very vivid terms.

How quickly would your tissue cool to mild hypothermic levels if the winds are 45 mph and the outside temperature is –20 F(assuming minimal body clothing is worn). For the answer see our Wind Chill Factor page.

The answer is,well within 10 minutes.

2)Moderate Hypothermia Symptom
If your body has lasted past stage one, the odds are the recollections from now on may become more vague.Your core temperature is still about 34 deg C or 93 deg F.

Progressively different muscle functions start to give up,affecting speech,gross and fine movement. Shaking hands, holding a ski pole and maintaining posture becomes impossible.You may be stumbling,and quite unlikely skiing at this stage.

The brain function starts to come up with symptoms of its own.These present themselves by absent mindedness, becoming confused, having short term memory problems.This single hypothermic symptom alone explains why snow expedition victims become lost, even in terrain which is familiar to them.

A more advanced stage unfolds itself,delirium.

3)Severe Hypothermia Symptom
At this stage you are delirious, probably immobile, lying down,with odd waves of shiver overcoming you.You are not in control of your actions.Your body is pale,peripheral circulation has shut down, and your heart rate is slowing down.It is almost impossible to detect the pulse.

Your core temperature at this stage is around 30 deg C(86 deg F).

4)Extreme Hypothermia Symptom You are unconscious now .Pulse is incredibly faint or even absent.Shaking and shivering has long gone .Your body is becoming rigid.

The core temperature is below 30 deg C or under 85 deg F.

Our body fortunately enough is equipped with a survival diving reflex, which gives us a fighting chance when faced with acute hypothermia. The heart rate slows down, like a bear going into hibernation, peripheral circulation is shut down to increase blood flow to vital organs such as the brain, lungs and abdomen. The body tries to conserve its most important organs to allow you to survive. This survival reflex gives you hope when overcoming hypothermia.

Many individuals have survived low temperatures ,submerged in very cold waters buried under avalanches ,trapped in crevasses.There is always hope if your travelling companion is in need.

In management of hypothermic symptoms the aim is to gradually raise the body core temperature.

  • find shelter
  • if available give warm drink and if possible food
  • if possible place subject in luke-warm to warm water
  • alternatively place warm battles around the torso
  • mentally prepare for cardi-pulmonary-resuscitation CPR
  • if faint pulse is not detectable commence CPR (providing the body is not frozen)
  • if unconscious try to warm externally as they won’t generate heat spontaneously


    • do not remove the clothing, even when iced over or wet
    • do not give alcohol
    • do not move the body excessively, leave it supine or flat
    • do not massage the body (you may give them cardiac arrest)
    • do not treat frost bite, these are of secondary importance

    Think of the body manifesting hypothermic symptoms as being very fragile.It does not want to be moved too much,and it wants to be dealt with gently when warming up.

    The main reason for this is that movement of the body stimulates further flow or circulation of blood. More cold blood is returned to the heart and in turn this will quickly send you into cardiac arrythmia, and then cardiac arrest.

    Should this circumstance encounter one of your friends on a snow expedition remember, one cannot be declared dead until you are warm again.

    Hospital Management

    The warming techniques are a little more creative for treatment of hypothermia. Warm blankets are used ,intravenous warm fluid delivery is performed ,in more extreme cases pumping of the stomach and abdomen with warmed fluids is done .

    The manipulation of the body is still maintained at a minimum until the body core temperature starts to rise .The heart’s response to treatment is paramount as it is very susceptible to arrhythmia or irregular beating ,and of course a heart attack. Electrolytes need to be monitored especially Sodium and Potassium as well as the blood pH levels.

    Hypothermia Symptom Management Technologies will give an overview of hypothermia symptoms,introducing you to some exellent equipment designed for these distressing situations.The equipment includes air warmer inhaler,intravenous warmer,charger and a stethoscope.

    Subject matter, and topics related to hypothermia symptoms can be found here.

    If you are looking for doctor's perspective,try visiting on line Doctor's Perspective of Hypothermia

    Share this page: