Sets in when core body temperature falls below 35°C (95’F); if cooling continues to 25°C (77°F) or below, recovery is unlikely. As temperature dips, the person becomes dreamy, unresponsive, and reluctant to move, hands, feet, and abdomen feel cold to the touch- there may also be cramp, numbness, or paralysis, causing falls and accidents if the person trios to move.

First, check breathing and pulse, and if necessary give artificial respiration and cardiac resuscitation (select Breathing, Circulation). Do not give cardiac resuscitation unless you are absolutely sure there is no heartbeat.

Bring the person into the warm, and give sips of hot, sweet drinks, but no alcohol. Warm the person up gently, to avoid overstraining the heart. Place warm, not boiling hot, water bottles, well wrapped up, against the person’s body if you like, but not against the extremities. Do not rub or massage the limbs or encourage the person to do warm-up exercises. DO NOT PUT THEM IN THE BATH.

Babies and old people are most vulnerable to hypothermia. A hypothermic baby will be unusually limp and drowsy and refuse feeds, although face, hands, and feet may appear normal. The most effective way of rewarming a baby is to hold him or her against your skin in a warm bed or bath. In the elderly, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish hypothermia from a STROKE or HEART ATTACK. Call your GP within 2 hours.