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Cold & Hypothermia

Hypothermia develops when the body temperature falls below 35°C. The effects vary depending on the speed of the onset and the level to which the body temperature falls. Moderate hypothermia can usually be completely reversed.
Severe hypothermia - when the core body temperature falls below 30°C - is often, but not always fatal. However, no matter how low the body temperature is, it is always worth persisting with life-saving procedures until a doctor arrives to assess the casualty.

Recognition Features

There may be:
  • Shivering and pale, cold, dry skin.
  • Disorientation, apathy or irrational behaviour: occasiionally belligerence.
  • Impaired consciousness or lethargy.
  • Slow and shallow breathing.
  • Slow and weakening pulse.
  • In extreme cases the heart may stop.


For a casualty who has been brought into the tent from the outside, immediately replace wet clothing with warm, dry garments.
Put the casualty in a sleeping bag and ensure that they are well covered. Give them warm drinks or high energy foods such as chocoloate to help rewarm them.
Insulate from the ground using rucksacks etc.