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Cold weather can affect your body in different ways. You can get frostbite, which is an injury to the body that is caused by freezing. Your body can also lose heat faster than you can produce it. That can cause hypothermia, or abnormally low body temperature. It can make you sleepy, confused, and clumsy. Because it happens gradually and affects your thinking, you may not realize you need help. That makes it especially dangerous. A body temperature below 95 °F (35 °C) is a medical emergency and can lead to death if not treated promptly.
Anyone who spends much time outdoors in cold weather can get hypothermia. You can also get it from being cold and wet, or under cold water for too long. Babies and old people are especially at risk. Babies can get it from sleeping in a cold room.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Cold Weather Safety for Older Adults (National Institute on Aging) - PDF
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Avoiding Frostbite and Hypothermia (National Safety Council)
- Cold Stress Can Be Prevented (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
- Prevent Hypothermia and Frostbite (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
Treatments and Therapies
- Hypothermia: First Aid (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Cold Stress (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Hypothermia (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: The safety and efficacy of hypothermia combining mechanical thrombectomy or thrombolysis...
- Article: Ventilator-associated pneumonia in neurocritically ill patients: insights from the ENIO international...
- Article: Effect of 10-minute prewarming plus intraoperative co-warming on core temperature maintenance...
- Hypothermia -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- National Center for Environmental Health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Also in Spanish
- National Institute on Aging Also in Spanish
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- Safety Tips for Exercising Outdoors for Older Adults (National Institute on Aging) Also in Spanish
- How to prevent frostbite and hypothermia (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Hypothermia (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish