Hypothermia

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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What are the signs and symptoms of hypothermia?

The signs and symptoms of hypothermia vary depending upon how severe the hypothermia becomes. In general, there is a sequence of symptoms that can be roughly graded as mild, moderate or severe (not all doctors agree with grading or fixed temperatures). However, the following is a list of symptoms that may occur as hypothermia progresses from mild to severe (temperatures are approximate and some symptoms may overlap).

Mild hypothermia symptoms (core temperature 32 C to 35 C (90 F to 95 F) are:

Moderate hypothermia (core temperature 28 C to 32 C (82 F to 90 F) are:

  • Increasing difficulty with all the moderate symptoms (for example, inability to do simple tasks, slurred speech)


Severe hypothermia (core temperature below 28 C (82 F) are:

  • Shivering stops
  • Extreme confusion (for example, removing clothing or extreme risk-taking behavior)
  • A decline in consciousness
  • A weak and/or irregular pulse
  • Slow and shallow breathing
  • Coma that can result in death

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Picture of the Stages of Frostbite
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/7/2016
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