Cold weather can affect your body in different ways. You can get frostbite, which is frozen body tissue. Your body can also lose heat faster than you can produce it. The result is 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 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
- Hypothermia (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Hypothermia: A Cold Weather Hazard (National Institute on Aging) Available in Spanish
- Winter Weather Frequently Asked Questions (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Winter Weather: Hypothermia (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Treatments and Therapies
- Hypothermia: First Aid (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Cold Stress (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
Health Check Tools
- Cold Injury (DSHI Systems)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Hypothermia (National Institutes of Health)
Journal ArticlesReferences and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Extracorporeal Rewarming From Accidental Hypothermia of Patient With Suspected Trauma.
- Article: Twelve lead electrocardiography after collapse.
- Article: Core temperature--the intraoperative difference between esophageal versus nasopharyngeal temperatures and...
- Hypothermia -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Available in Spanish
- National Center for Environmental Health (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Available in Spanish
- National Institute on Aging Available in Spanish
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration Available in Spanish