Recognising Signs of Hypothermia in Colder Weather

It’s that time of year again, the nights are drawing in and temperatures are plummeting.  Although the winter weather and snow can be fun for all the family, it can also greatly increase your chances of illness and injury.  Cold and wintry conditions are a leading cause of hypothermia, so we thought we would put together some handy tips and tricks below for recognising the signs of hypothermia in colder weather conditions according to NHS.

Signs of hypothermia?

These are the five key things to look for:

  1. Cold body temperature, pale and dry skin
  2. Excessive shivering symptoms or no shivering at all; stiffness in arms/legs
  3. Tiredness, confusion or changes in behaviour
  4. Slurred, slowed speech or shallow breathing
  5. Slow and weakening pulse

If a friend or relative is suffering from any of these signs of hypothermia it is important to know how to help. Firstly, you must warm the person with layers of dry clothing – if they are outside bring them indoors and cover with blankets, get them something warm to drink, such as soup or a food high in energy like chocolate.  If they become unresponsive at any point, you must open the airway and check they are breathing still – call 999/112 and prepare to treat someone who is unresponsive.  Whilst you wait for help to arrive, it is essential to keep checking their pulse, breathing and level of responsiveness.

Staying Warm Inside

We are often warned of the dangers of hypothermia whilst outside, but many people fail to realise the importance of staying warm inside as well.  Cold weather can become a particular worry for the elderly or those more susceptible to cold weather conditions. These people must ensure houses are kept warm and cosy during winter months.  The Department of Health recommends heating to at least 18C and advocate purchasing a room thermometer to help keep track of temperatures.

Staying Warm Outside 

In these cold winter months, wearing warm, dry clothing and wrapping up in cosy layers whilst outside is essential.  Wearing multiple thin layers trap air which keeps you warmer more effectively and wearing a hat can prevent major heat loss.  Whilst outside eating and drinking regularly is just as important as keeping active!

There we have it! There are plenty of handy tips and tricks listed above to keep you safe in cold, wintry months and remember to watch out for stumbles, mumbles or fumbles and make sure you are up to speed on signs of hypothermia.