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Acute Hypothermia

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What is acute hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a condition that develops when body temperature drops below 95˚F (35˚C). Acute means the condition starts suddenly, gets worse quickly, and lasts a short time. Hypothermia may develop if your body loses too much heat or cannot keep a constant temperature. Hypothermia is classified according to temperature. Mild is 90-95˚F (32.2-35˚C). Moderate is 82.4-89.9˚F (28-32.1˚C). Severe is below 82.4˚F (28˚C).

What increases my risk of hypothermia?

What are the signs and symptoms of hypothermia?

How is hypothermia diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will take your temperature and check your pulse and blood pressure. Your provider will examine you for signs of hypothermia and signs of frostbite (damaged tissue). Frostbite usually happens on the fingers, toes, ears, or nose. Tell your provider about any long-term exposure to cold, and any medicines you take. Your provider will want to know if you drank alcohol right before symptoms began. You may need the following tests to check for complications of acute hypothermia:

How is hypothermia treated?

You may need to have frostbite treated. Ask for more information about treatment for frostbite. You may also be given medicines to treat health conditions that caused your hypothermia or to prevent complications. You will receive treatment based on the severity of your hypothermia:

What are the risks of hypothermia?

How can I prevent hypothermia?

Where can I get support and more information?

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

Contact your healthcare provider if:

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately if:

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.