The stages of hypothermia are crucial to learn and understand. Why? So you can identify if you or someone your with are starting to experience hypothermia. It’s not quite a common cold that you can just ignore and brush off.

Here’s what we cover in this post.

  • What Causes Hypothermia
  • What Is The First Sign of Hypothermia
  • How To Identify Hypothermia
  • The 3 Stages Of Hypothermia

In a Winter Survival situation, we must pay attention to what’s going on with our bodies. It’s easy to not pay attention when being out in the cold for extended periods of time.

What Causes Hypothermia

Hypothermia is caused the bodies temperature dropping below 95 degrees F. The opposite of a fever. One of your main priorities for Winter survival is to keep your body warm at all costs.

Medical attention is crucial for hypothermia and is without a doubt, a survival situation.

How To Identify Hypothermia

To spot stage 1 of hypothermia, you want to look for the symptoms that we discuss below. Each stage has different symptoms. The first stage has is likely the easiest one to spot. Shivering is a strong indicator that will likely lead to stage one. But shivering could stop at the other stages.

The 3 Stages Of Hypothermia

There are three stages of hypothermia. Each stage is different from the other and they all present different complications and symptoms. You’ll want to learn all three stages. What happens in each stage. How to identify what stage someone is in. And what to do to treat each stage.

Stage 1: Mild Hypothermia

What are the signs and symptoms of someone in Stage 1 Hypothermia

  • You begin to shiver
  • Mild confusion will start
  • Difficulty focusing on anything other than how cold you are

Your brain function drops in proportion to your core temperature dropping. Brain function fails to function below 68 F

What To Do If You Have Stage 1 Hypothermia

  • Make a warm drink if possible
  • Light exercise in attempts to warm your core temperature

Stage 2: Moderate Hypothermia

What are the signs and symptoms of someone in Stage 2 Hypothermia

  • Shivering either becomes aggressive and violent or stops.
  • Confusion becomes worse and more intense, to the point of not being able to make decisions or focus at all.
  • Miscoordination of muscle occurs.

What To Do If You Have Stage 2 Hypothermia

At this stage, it becomes vital to make progress in efforts to start raising the core body temperature. Preferably have a fire going while drinking warm liquids. As well as light exercise.

Stage 3: Severe Hypothermia

What are the signs and symptoms of someone in Stage 3 Hypothermia

  • Psychological systems will further decrease in function as the core temperature continues to drop.
  • Heart rate continues to drop.
  • Respiratory rate continues to drop.
  • Blood Pressure continues to drop.
  • Due to the extreme loss in psychological function and decision making.
  • Due to the malfunction of the hypothalamus in the brain, people in stage 3 commonly start to paradoxically undress because they feel hot. The hypothalamus regulates your body temperature. Since it’s function has essentially stopped, what you feel is not necessarily what your body is experiencing.
  • It’s also common that people engage in terminal burrowing. Burrowing is a defensive act where the brain wants to protect itself, so the person buries their head in what it can in attempts to “protect” itself.

In this stage, basically, it’s not good at all. Get warm and get warmer fast.


If you start to see hypothermia develop in yourself or anyone around you, you want to act fast. The clock is your enemy. It moves fast. It progresses rapidly. And if left untreated or without the medical attention it needs and deserves, I’m afraid it won’t end well.

Developing Winter survival skills is a must you’re going to be out in the cold frequently. If you notice that you are starting to get symptoms of hypothermia, it’s crucial that you recognize it and start to take action on getting warmer.

Have you ever experienced hypothermia? What did you do to survive?

UP NEXT: Build The Ultimate Winter Survival Kit


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