Hypothermia, or cold stress, is a preventable illness that can result not only from exposure to outdoor cold, but also from unprotected exposure to cool indoor temperatures. If undetected and untreated, hypothermia can be serious and even life threatening.
Hypothermia occurs when a personís body temperature falls below 95°. The condition slows the heart and breathing, weakens the body and causes disorientation.
People who are vulnerable to hypothermia (e.g., older adults, infants and people with chronic health problems) should be treated immediately by a doctor or emergency medical team at the first sign of these symptoms:
- Skin that is cool to the touch
- Difficulty in speaking or moving
- Slowed breathing
- A puffy or swollen face
- A sudden change in appearance or behavior
- Trembling in an arm, leg or on one side
- Cold and stiff muscles
- Difficulty with coordination and balance
Links noted by "(pdf)" are in PDF format and support Adobe Acrobat 5.0 and later. Download Adobe Reader, free software to view and print PDF files.