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First Aid: Stages of Hypothermia

This page is designed to give candidates of standard first aid course participants additional information about the stages of Hypothermia. Hypothermia is defined as a core body temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius. Normal body temperature ranges from 36 to 38 degrees Celsius.  In normal conditions the body can maintain and keep stable the normal temperatures. However, after prolonged heat loss and low temperatures, the body’s core temperature can slowly begin to fall. Without intervention or change in environment the body can undergo significant permanent damage including death. This page outlines the different stages of hypothermia based on temperature.

Stages of Hypothermia

  •  37 Degrees – Normal core body temperature
  • 35 Degrees – Mild stage – Hypothermia begins below this temperature.
  • 34 Degrees – Mild stage  – Patient begins shivering to maximize the body’s ability to produce heat.
  • 33 Degrees – Mild stage  – To protect the core the body begins vasoconstriction of the peripheral arteries to prevent further heat loss through the extremities and maintain core body heat.
    First Aid Blanket

    First aid blankets provide an excellent source of heat for victims of hypothermia.

  • 32 Degrees – Moderate stage  – Patient becomes confused and disoriented and begins inappropriate and irrational behaviour.
  • 31 Degrees – Moderate stage – Patient begins to loss attentive level of consciousness and shivering becomes inhibited.
  • 30 Degrees – Moderate stage – Patients heart begins to slow and irregularities in the heart rhythm can be detected. Rate of respiration begins to fall
  • 29 Degrees – Moderate Stage – Pulse begins to skip beats and palpate. Patient becomes extremely susceptible to cardiac arrest and other heat conditions. Pupils become dilated.
  • 28 Degrees – Severe Stage – Muscles become rigid as the patient may begin to fall into a coma. Heart rate and respiratory rate slow further.
  • 27 Degrees – Severe Stage – Patient’s pulse may become absent and the patient may appear to be in cardiac arrest as the respiration and circulatory rates drastically decrease. Patient may not respond to any stimuli.
  • 26 Degrees – Severe Stage – Patient is likely unresponsive and cardiac arrest is likely.
  • 24 Degrees – Severe Stage – Patient develops fluid congestion in the lungs.
  •  22 Degrees – Severe Stage – At this point cardiac arrest is almost eminent.
  • 9 Degrees – The lowest recorded hypothermia survivor

Register for a Course and Become a Rescuer

To learn more about recognizing, the effects of and providing care for patients of hypothermia take a standard first aid course through a credible provider such as St Mark James. We have providers located throughout Canada in convenient workplace approved training centers. Registration is quick and easy. Learn the basic skills to save a life by taking a workplace approved standard first aid course.