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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:

  • Shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Hunger
  • Nausea
  • Mild confusion
  • Some difficulty with speech and coordination

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

Picture of the Stages of Frostbite

Picture of the Stages of Frostbite
Return to Hypothermia

See what others are saying

Comment from: Hard worker, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: January 08

I was working alone but yet out in the open exposed to bitterly cold air in North Dakota. Wind chills were -45 to -55 below zero. I had very little sleep over the course of 5 days. I was on call at my job 24 hours a day. I had been out in the field for 24 hours straight. I was in and out of doors in spurts to work and stay warm. Finally I was working outside and I quit feeling cold but yet I felt the wind still blowing on me, then I started to shiver like never before, it wasn't a cold shiver but like my body was shaking. I started to feel very tired and lethargic, at one point I felt like taking off my coat and sitting outside on the stairs in the wind. As I walked back to my vehicle I felt weak in my legs like I was going to fall to the ground at any moment. I made it back to the truck and rested with the heater blowing on me, ate and drank water. I still feel weak and now sick to my stomach. But I have at least another 10 hours of work ahead of me. Shivering/ shaking is still present, and my feet have not yet warmed up.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: Lewis, 35-44 Male (Caregiver) Published: October 11

At night the temperature drops to 18 degrees Celsius with my environment air-conditioned and cooled all the time. This has caused my breathing to be difficult and I've developed hypothermia symptoms even though I am in the tropics. I cough out blood-stained mucous especially in the morning.

Was this comment helpful?Yes
Comment from: erik, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: September 14

Lethargy, tiredness, dark urine and pale stools are symptoms I have with hypothermia, including a body temperature just under 35C.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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