Signs and Symptoms

Mild hypothermia (98 – 90° F)

  • Shivering
  • Lack of coordination, stumbling, fumbling hands
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory loss
  • Pale, cold skin

Moderate hypothermia (90 – 86° F)

  • Shivering stops
  • Unable to walk or stand
  • Confused and irrational

Severe hypothermia (86 – 78° F)

  • Severe muscle stiffness
  • Very sleepy or unconscious
  • Ice cold, blue skin
  • Death

What to do (proper treatment depends on severity)

Mild hypothermia

  • Move to warm area.
  • Stay active.
  • Remove wet clothes and replace with dry clothes or blankets, cover the head.
  • Drink warm (not hot) sugary drink; avoid alcohol.

Moderate hypothermia
All of the above, plus:

  • Call 911.
  • Cover all extremities completely.
  • Place very warm objects, such as hot packs or water bottles on the victim’s head, neck, chest and groin.

Severe hypothermia

  • Call 911 for an ambulance.
  • Treat the victim very gently.
  • Do not attempt to re-warm — the victim should receive treatment in a hospital.


Signs and symptoms

  • Cold, tingling, stinging or aching feeling in the frostbitten area, followed by numbness.
  • Skin color turns red, then purple, then white or very pale and is cold to the touch.
  • Blisters in severe cases.

What to do

  • Call 911.
  • Do not rub the area.
  • Wrap in soft cloth.
  • If help is delayed, immerse in warm, not hot, water.

Trench Foot

Signs and Symptoms

  • Tingling, itching or burning sensation.
  • Blisters.

What to do

  • Soak feet in warm water, then wrap with dry cloth bandages.
  • Drink a warm, sugary drink.

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Olivia Haas is a senior at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ), where she is studying mathematics secondary...

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