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Hypothermia - The Silent Killer: Symptons

The effects of hypothermia range from the mild to the severe. Since the initial effects of hypothermia are mild, they often go unnoticed by the victim. As the body temperature drops and the effects become more severe, the victims' thought processes are impaired and he/she may still not realize what is happening. It is up to all the members of a back country group to keep a close eye on each other.

The Signs At Various Stages of Hypothermia:

  • Mild Hypothermia
    • Body Temperature 98o - 95oF.

      • Chilly feeling - shivering begins.
      • Skin numbness, minor impairment in muscular performance, poor coordination, immobile and fumbling hands.
    • Body temperature 95o - 93oF.

      • Violent shivering
      • More obvious lack of coordination, slow stumbling pace, difficulty speaking, mild confusion and apathy, feeling of deep cold and numbness, skin pale and cold to the touch.
    • Body Temperature 93o - 90o.F

      • Gross muscular incoordination with frequent stumbling and falling, inability to use hands, mental sluggishness with slow thought and speech, retrograde amnesia.

  • Moderate Hypothermia
    • Body Temperature 90o - 86oF.

      • Shivering stops, severe lack of coordination with stiffness and inability to walk or stand, incoherence, confusion, irrationality.

  • Severe Hypothermia
    • Body temperature 86o - 82oF.

      • Severe muscular rigidity, extreme lethargy and desire for sleep, dilatation of pupils, slow respiration and heartbeat, skin ice cold.
    • Body temperature 82o - 78oF.

      • Unconsciousness followed by death due to heart and respiratory failure.
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