Hypothermia or Low Temperature

General or Other | General Practice | Hypothermia or Low Temperature (Symptom)


Hypothermia are often recognised by a parent or carer. This is because hypothermia can cause confusion, poor judgement and a change in behaviour which means the affected may not realise that they have it.

If someone has mild hypothermia (generally with a body temperature of 32-35°C), the symptoms are not always obvious but they can include: constant shivering, tiredness, low energy, cold or pale skin, fast breathing (hyperventilation), Moderate hypothermia

Moderate cases of hypothermia (generally with a body temperature of 28-32°C) can include symptoms such as: violent, uncontrollable shivering (although shivering can stop completely at lower temperatures as the body is unable to generate heat), being unable to think or pay attention, confusion (some people do not realise they are affected), loss of judgement and reasoning (someone with hypothermia may decide to remove clothing despite being very cold), difficulty moving around, loss of co-ordination, drowsiness, slurred speech, slow, shallow breathing (hypoventilation).

The symptoms of severe hypothermia (a body temperature of below 28°C) can include: unconsciousness (comatose), shallow or no breathing, weak, irregular or no pulse, dilated pupils.

The individual may in fact appear to be dead. However, under these circumstances the individual must be taken to hospital in order for it to be decided whether they have died, or are in a state of severe hypothermia. If this is the case, advanced medical intervention may still be able to resuscitate them. Babies with hypothermia may look healthy but their skin will feel cold. They may also be limp, unusually quiet and refuse to feed.


Hypothermia most often occurs because of prolonged exposure to cold weather. Inadequate clothing for conditions may not provide enough insulation for the body to prevent heat loss. Immersion in water hastens hypothermia, and just a few minutes in cold water may be fatal.