354th FW Airmen develop, test new F-35A arctic survival kit

Hypothermia Safety Tips

Hypothermia occurs when the body's temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Learn to spot the signs and how to treat hypothermia.

Hypothermia Safety Tips

Winter Safety Videos

Detection - female holding thermometer laying down

Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Change in mental status (stumbles, bumbles, grumbles and mumbles are signs that cold is affecting the body and brain)
  • Uncontrollable shivering
  • Cool abdomen and a low core body temperature
  • Severe hypothermia may produce rigid muscles, dark and puffy skin, irregular heart and respiratory rates, and unconsciousness


Prevention - people sitting outside with cups in their hands laughing

  • Wear multi-layered clothing
    1. Inner layer that wicks sweat away from skin such as lightweight wool, polyester, or polypropylene (polypro). Never use cotton as it absorbs moisture.
    2. Middle layer that insulates and keeps in heat -examples include polyester fleece, wool, microfiber insulation, or down.
    3. Outer layer should repel wind, snow and rain. Choose a fabric that is breathable and rain and wind proof.
  • Wear gloves or mittens and warm waterproof shoes or boots. Avoid overly constricting wrist bands, socks or shoes.
  • Wear warm headgear, scarf or neck warmer and face mask
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Drink warm, non-alcoholic, caffeine-free liquids to maintain fluid levels
  • Avoid becoming wet, as wet clothing loses 90 percent of its insulating value

Treatment - woman laying in hospital bed with monitor in the background

Treat hypothermia by protecting further heat loss and calling for immediate medical attention

  • Get the victim out of the cold
  • Add insulation such as blankets, pillows, towels or newspapers beneath and around the victim
  • Be sure to cover the victim's head
  • Replace wet clothing with dry clothing
  • Handle the victim gently because rough handling can cause cardiac arrest
  • Keep the victim in a horizontal, flat position
  • Give artificial respiration or CPR if you are trained as necessary