Physical Symptoms of Hypothermia

By Smokey Sturtevant

The following is a chart to indicate the physical symptoms of hypothermia. It is provided to assist in showing the various stages of hypothermia that are readily apparent. It has no copyright and is to be used and distributed as you see fit. I hope that it will help in the recognition and prevention and treatment of hypothermia.

The chart is broken down into approximate body temperature and the symptoms that develop at those temps. The temps are in degrees f. If you have any questions regarding hypothermia, please leave me a message or e-mail note. s.s.(on Compuserve)

Temperature ----- Symptoms

98.6-95.0
Intense shivering, ability to perform complex tasks is impaired, fatigue, poor coordination, immobile and fumbling hands.
95.0-91.4
Violent shivering, difficulty speaking, sluggish in thinking, amnesia starts to appear, starts to lose contact with environment, stumbling gait, feeling of deep cold and numbness.
91.4-87.8
Shivering decreases, in it's place is muscle rigidity, erratic movement, thinking is not clear, victim can't still stand, hallucinations, loses contact with the surroundings.
87.8-85.2
Rigid muscles, no shivering, very irrational, starts into a stupor, pulse and respiration slow, pupils start to dilate, skin is turning bluish, drowsiness.
85.2-78.8
Does not respond to words that are spoken, pulse is very erratic, reflexes do not function, victim will be only semi-conscious, heart starts atrial fib.
BELOW 78.8
Heart and respiratory failure, ventricular fibrillation, probable brain and lung hemorrhage, apparent death.

Victims have been saved with core temps as low as 75.0 F. The best chances of recovery are from early diagnosis and treatment. Even though there may not be a pulse or breathing, the victim can be saved. Many times the cold will cause a reaction in the nervous system that can help the victim. The most important thing to remember is that it won't go away!!! The problem must be treated and treated quickly. This goes for others as well as for yourself. You should always be aware of what is happening to you as well as your partners. Be prepared to treat it before you cannot help yourself.

I hope that this proves useful. s.s.


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